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Hedge fund honcho seeks to oust congressman

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Super PAC Prosperity First, which is bankrolled by wealthy hedge fund CEO Robert Mercer, is attempting to oust Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in New York’s 1st Congressional District. In less than a week, the super PAC has spent more than $294,000 on ads.

Prosperity First reported its first buy to the tune of $273,000 on Friday, followed by an additional $21,000 on Monday, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The ads support Randy Altschuler, a wealthy Republican businessman running for Congress against Bishop in Mercer’s home district of eastern Long Island.

Altschuler and Bishop first went head-to-head in 2010 in one of the tightest races in the country. Both campaigns challenged the results, and three weeks after the election, just 16 votes separated the candidates, The Hill reported. Eventually, Altschuler, who funded his own campaign, conceded. The final tally gave Bishop a margin of victory of less than 600 votes in a race where about 200,000 votes were cast.

New York’s 1st District is considered a tossup again this year, but Bishop may receive a bump from increased Democratic turnout for the presidential election.

Super donor Mercer, co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies Corp., gave Prosperity First $500,000 in April. This accounts for nearly 80 percent of the $635,500 it reported raising through June, according to the group’s most recent campaign finance filing. Mercer made the contribution three days after Prosperity First was founded.

Altschuler’s position on Wall Street reform aligns with that of Mercer and Renaissance Technologies.

The hedge fund giant lobbied extensively against the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which tightens regulations on hedge funds, among other things. Altschuler opposes the law, and he has called it “flawed” and a “job killer for New York,” local news site Smithtown Matters reported in 2010.

Bishop voted in favor of Dodd-Frank, which is named for its chief congressional sponsors, former Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

Other contributors to Prosperity First include:

In other outside spending news:

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