Saying "New Yorkers are mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore," Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino declared victory in Tuesday's GOP gubernatorial primary, defeating former U.S. Representative Rick Lazio in the biggest surprise of the 2010 Primary.
Paladino, a millionaire businessman and political neophyte who had to petition to get his name on the ballot, scored a shocking win over Lazio, the party favorite, only five months after entering the race. Paladino, a Tea Party favorite, will now face Democrat Andrew Cuomo in November's general election.
"The liberal elite is still calling me every name in the book. They say I'm blunt," Paladino told a cheering crowd of supporters at his Buffalo headquarters. "Well, I am. And I’m not apologizing for it."
"We wish we had a better outcome but we're proud of the race we ran," Lazio told supporters in his concession speech in Midtown Manhattan.
In Harlem, embattled Congressman Charles Rangel claimed victory, beating out all five of his challengers including Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV.
Powell's father, the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Jr., was beaten by Rangel in 1970.
Tuesday night's victory comes as the 20-term congressman faces a list of ethics charges, which forced him to step down as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee earlier this year.
Brushing aside criticism over his legal troubles, he thanked his constituents for their tireless support.
"I want you to know no matter what they say, I go back to Washington stronger than ever. And, it has nothing to do with my personality, it has everything to do with you. What you've done for me, you've done for our congressional district, you've done for our country," Rangel said.
Democrats Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, who together engineered a controversial coup in the state Senate last year, each conceded their races for state office.
Espada, who was defeated by Gustavo Rivera, told supporters Tuesday night that he's not done with politics.
"What's next for me is to continue being a senator through December 31st and to continue to be a family man that I have been and a father and grandfather those are my first duties and I'll continue to perform those, and we'll see what politics brings," Espada Jr. told supporters. "I am not quitting. I told the audience here tonight that they have never defined me as a quitter and I am not going to start now."
Espada is currently facing allegations that he violated labor laws at his non-profit Bronx health clinic, while Monserrate was expelled by the Senate in February in connection with a misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend.
Monserrate, who was looking to fill the seat left vacant by Assemblyman Jose Peralta, lost to newcomer Francisco Moya.
"Obviously, suffering a loss in the Democratic Primary is never a good feeling, you know. Never a good feeling. But nonetheless the democratic process is what occurred and we respect that process," Monserrate said.
In the Democratic race for attorney general, State Senator Eric Schneiderman narrowly defeated Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
"I'm going to ensure that every New Yorker, no matter who you are, what community you come from or how much money you have, has equal justice under the law and full protection by your government," Schneiderman told supporters in Midtown.
Rice, who did not address supporters Tuesday night, released a statement saying, in part, "I congratulate State Senator Eric Schneiderman for his success tonight and look forward to helping ensure that the Office of the Attorney General stays in Democratic hands."
Also in the running were Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, former federal prosecutor Sean Coffey, and former state insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo.
Schneiderman will now face Republican Dan Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney, in November.
In another heated Congressional primary, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney defeated newcomer Reshma Saujani.
In other races, Jay Townsend defeated Gary Berntsen for the Republican Senate nomination. He will go up against Democrat Charles Schumer in November.
Meanwhile, former Westchester Congressman Joe DioGuardi claimed victory over former Treasury Department official David Malpass and Long Island attorney Bruce Blakeman in the bid to take on Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Gillibrand, who was appointed by Governor David Paterson, sailed past her primary opponent Gail Goode with a more than 50 percent margin.
New Voting Machines Make Rocky Debut
New Yorkers cast their votes Tuesday using new electronic voting machines and scanned paper ballots, introduced as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the day was marred for some voters by what he called "disturbing" reports of polling problems.
Voters in Queens, Brooklyn, and as far away as Westchester and Mount Kisco, N.Y. said they ran into some difficulty voting – with many being turned away from their polling sites.
The mayor said at some city polling sites had broken and missing scanners, emergency ballots and poor customer service. He also said that New Yorkers deserve better for the $77 million the city paid BOE to implement the new voting system, and compared the board to the famously corrupt Tammany Hall.
"That is a royal screw-up and it's completely unacceptable," said Bloomberg. "It means some voters waited for hours and other voters may not have a chance to cast their ballots at all. We've also gotten reports of broken and missing scanners, emergency ballots and poor customer service."
BOE officials issued a statement saying they are aware that some polling sites have issues with the new voting system.
The board says its top priority was "resolving these issues as quickly as possible. It's important to note majority of the poll sites are working properly and many voters are having a positive experience."
BOE officials added they will apply the lessons learned from the primary to November's general election.
The reaction to the new technology was mixed, with some voters approving of it and others finding it difficult.
"I don't know who invented this system. It's clearly an expensive system, but it doesn't work," said one voter.
"I thought it was terrific," countered another voter. "It was very easy, you just fill in the ovals. In fact, it was easier for people behind the desk."