NEW YORK (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — Early on, Carl Paladino wasn’t taken seriously, and until recently Rick Lazio refused to even utter his name, but as CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports, the Tea Party-backed candidate stunned the nation with an unlikely win.
Lazio wasn’t out of the race entirely, however. He won the Conservative Party nomination and will be on the November ballot.
In victory speech, Paladino challenged opponent Andrew Cuomo to a series of debates. “Yes we are mad as hell. New Yorkers are fed up,” he said.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports
An uprising of angry voters propelled Carl Paladino from fringe candidate to winner by a landslide.
“I’m here to thank you for choosing me as the Republican candidate for Governor of the State of New York,” he said.
The multimillionaire businessman from Buffalo rocked the Republican Party with a win over former Congressman Rick Lazio.
“Tonight of course we came up short on the Republican side and that is a disappointment,” Lazio said. “I am going to be part of the public dialogue.”
Moments after Lazio’s concession speech, party leaders were scrambling to regroup and re-cast Paladino as a candidate in-line with party values.
“Rick’s ideas are Carl’s ideas. Carl’s got his way of expressing them, he’s holding that well, he clawed his way back by petitioning himself onto the ballot again and he has got a whole lot of energy behind him going into this,” GOP Chairman Ed Cox said.
The current Attorney General has a commanding lead in the polls and a $24 million war chest.
Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 in New York and they are ready to pounce on Paladino’s controversial reputation as a belligerant and blustery wild-card, but his defiant victory assures they likely won’t be able to simply ignore him, or the small government, fiscally-responsible, Constitutionalist Tea Party supporters.