NEW YORK (AP/1010 WINS/WCBS 880/CBS 2) – Tuesday is primary day for voters in New York and a number of high profile races — including those involving big names like Rep. Charlie Rangel and former Congressman Rick Lazio will be decided.
The strength of the tea party candidate Carl Paladino, trying to ride a wave of voter anger against the state Republican leaders’ choice in the race for governor, Rick Lazio, will be tested along with the future of the state GOP and Conservative parties.
A poll over the weekend showed Paladino had drawn even with Lazio.
Both candidates were making last minute efforts to woo voters on Monday.
Democratic voters in the primary will pare down a tight field of five candidates in the race for the party’s nomination for attorney general, a position that catapulted Eliot Spitzer — and now Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo — toward the governor’s office.
State Sen. Eric Schneiderman, strong in his district on the Upper West Side, has a slight and growing lead in the polls over Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice; former Navy officer and attorney Sean Coffey; former state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.
Schneiderman and Rice are considered the perceived front runners.
Rice was campaigning for last minute votes in Forest Hills Monday and sounded confident, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
“I’m the only one in this race who has run a law enforcement agency like the attorney general’s office and I believe that experience is going to result in voters going…and voting for me [Tuesday],” Rice said.
Schneiderman said his record as a reformer in Albany is what voters want.
“I have a long record of working on that issue [reform], and it’s about cleaning up Albany,” Schneiderman said describing himself as “someone who stands up to the power brokers in Albany.”
The crowded race has also gotten a bit nasty. Rice has taken shots at Schneiderman — calling him “the ultimate Albany insider” with Schneiderman retorting that Rice was “unprepared for the job,” WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported.
And although the majority in the state Senate, which has drawn national attention for its gridlocking partisanship, won’t be decided Tuesday, its Democratic majority leader, Pedro Espada Jr., will face a strong challenge in the Bronx. Espada is accused of illegally directing millions of dollars in government grants to his health clinic. He faces Gustavo Rivera in one of New York’s poorest districts.
Another high profile race will feature embattled Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel, who will face Adam Clayton Powell IV.
Rangel was out greeting commuters in Harlem at West 147th Street and Seventh Avenue Monday and later visited the Corsi House Senior Center.
Mayor Bloomberg defended Rangel as the city’s “go to guy” in Washington and said the ethics charges against him would be decided by Congress.
“Charlie Rangel has delivered for New York City and New York state,” Bloomberg told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.
Most experts agree that Rangel will handily defeat his primary opponents, but Rangel said it would be “silly to speculate,” WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported.
In addition to the races, there are also concerns over the new electronic voting machines being introduced for the primary.
With state and city budget cuts, not enough staff have been trained to help voters use them.
The machines come with paper ballots that are so hard to read, voters will be offered magnifying glasses. They’ll choose candidates by filling in an oval next to the person’s name. The ballot then goes into an optical scanning machine.
But there are concerns that a lot of ballots won’t be counted. If someone inadvertently votes for too many candidates, the ballot will still be cast, but the vote will then be invalidated.