UPDATE: Bishop, Keown snag endorsements

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY -- With less than three weeks remaining before the Nov. 2 election, Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Albany, and Republican challenger Mike Keown on Wednesday picked up endorsements in their District 2 congressional battle.

Bishop, vying for a 10th term in Congress, earned the endorsement of a second influential seniors group, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and four military generals while Keown picked up a nod from former Bishop appointee, retired Air Force Colonel Gary Breedlove.

Breedlove, who was appointed by Bishop as Chairman of the Committee for Recommendation, joins the Veterans for Keown Coalition in backing the challenger.

"After coming to know Mike, I have an amazing respect for his character and integrity as a person," wounded Vietnam veteran and coalition member Phil Deese said. "I am absolutely certain that he is the kind of man I want standing for me and other veterans in Washington."

Keown, in accepting the endorsements, pledged to support veterans' rights.

"My youngest son is an Iraq War veteran, a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient," Keown said. "He will continue to receive VA services for the rest of his life. No one will work harder than I will for all of our veterans. I will work to make the VA more responsive and reduce the bureaucracy throughout the system."

Bishop's most recent endorsement by Alliance for Retired Americans is the second from a senior's organization. The National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare had earlier given the congressman their nod.

"(Congressman Bishop's) position demonstrates a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for older Americans," the ARA endorsement letter reads. "Your leadership on issues such as preserving and protecting Social Security from privatization and benefits cuts, especially in 2010, the 75th anniversary year of the program, exhibits that commitment. In addition, our members can support your candidacy because of your belief in the need to provide more affordable health care for older Americans, as well as the need for stronger retirement and pension security, and quality long term and nursing care."

Bishop vowed to seniors he would work to defeat any attempts to privatize Social Security.

"I am pleased and honored to have gained not one but two endorsements in two weeks from two of our nations leading organizations for senior issues," Bishop said. "I stand by my pledge to protect social security from risky privatization schemes that would put America's Greatest Generation at risk."

The generals endorsed Bishop at a Thursday morning fundraiser in Columbus.

Those lending their support to Bishop are former U.S. Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey, along with three former Commanding Generals at Fort Benning - Major General Jerry White, Major General Kenneth Leuer and Major General Carmen Cavezza.

"I am proud to endorse what Congressman Bishop has done to support our combat veterans," McCaffrey said in a press release issued by the Bishop campaign. "My son is a combat soldier and my daughter was in uniform for eight years. I am grateful for his leadership, and for standing behind our young men and women in uniform."