Paladino scores shocking upset of Lazio in New York
There was a deafening cheer in Paladino’s Buffalo headquarters when it was announced The Associated Press had called the race for Paladino, who promises to “take a baseball bat” to dysfunctional government in Albany.
“If we’ve learned anything tonight, it’s that New Yorkers are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!” Paladino said. “The people have spoken.”
Paladino invoked Howard Beale, a fictional TV anchor in the 1976 movie “Network,” who encourages his audience to stick their head out their windows and shout, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
He then welcomed Republicans who opposed him to join “the peoples’ crusade … New Yorkers are fed up. Tonight the ruling class has seen it now … there is a peoples’ revolution.”
After speaking for about 14 minutes, Paladino led the crowd into seeing an a capella version of “God Bless America.”
He overcame early criticism and ridicule over sexist and racist e-mail jokes he once forwarded to friends and his description of the Democratic Assembly leader as being like an anti-Christ. Some of his programs fared also were critically received, including renovating prisons to provide jobs and “life lessons” including personal hygiene habits to welfare recipients, an idea he patterns after the New Deal's Civilian Conservation Corps.
John Faso, the 2006 Republican candidate for governor, said Paladino tapped “the feeling of dismay and discontent” among voters. “And in Carl Paladino, they had a perfect vehicle to voice that dissatisfaction,” Faso told the local television news channel NY1.
Lazio, 52, hadn’t conceded and was awaiting returns from all of Long Island, his base when he was a congressman.
As for Lazio, he was trounced upstate, where in his 2000 race for U.S. Senate against Hillary Rodham Clinton he made the mistake of saying the region’s economy had “turned the corner.”