Andrew Cuomo declares victory in the New York State gubernatorial...

Andrew Cuomo declares victory in the New York State gubernatorial race. (Nov. 2, 2010) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Democrat Andrew Cuomo pledged to make New York "the Empire State once again" after his victory Tuesday over a maverick Republican to become governor.

In a victory address to supporters, Cuomo, the attorney general, thanked his dad, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and acknowledged voters are "disgusted."

"The people have spoken," Cuomo said. "They are angry. . . . They're disgusted and they are right. What they are saying is they want reform and they want Albany to change, and that's what they're going to get.

"The mandate today is to clean up Albany."

Cuomo stressed the theme that "we are one state, because we are New York.

"The people of the state today say you're not going to divide us. You're not going to separate us. We are one. We are united. We believe in community. . . . We're not going to let you separate us."

In his concession speech, Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman who lost to Cuomo by a 2-to-1 margin, said he brought to the campaign a focus on improving transparency in state government and ending "insider deals in Albany."

"We saw the passion of regular people spill into the streets," Paladino said. "We're frustrated with big government. We're tired of our government spending money like drunken sailors."

He added, "We've had some casualties," and ridiculed media coverage of his campaign.

"You don't want the media noticing you," Paladino said. "It ain't pretty. And it sure ain't fair."

Paladino, who was little known before his surprise defeat of Rick Lazio of Brightwaters in the September GOP primary, garnered attention by vowing to go to Albany with a baseball bat and cut taxes and state spending by 20 percent.

But his campaign foundered with a series of bizarre statements, including a speech to Brooklyn Jewish leaders in which he said children should not be "brainwashed" into accepting homosexuality. Last week, he said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's "little girl."

On a night that generally favored incumbents, Schumer and Gillibrand swept to landslide victories, and four of Long Island's five House incumbents were re-elected, The Associated Press said. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) had a tight lead over Republican businessman Randy Altschuler early Wednesday.

Longtime Republican Rep. Peter King won an easy re-election victory.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy won a tough re-election fight over Nassau County Legis. Francis Becker, a Republican, The AP said.

Incumbent Rep. Steve Israel staved off an aggressive challenge from a tea party-backed Republican, winning re-election in his Suffolk congressional district, according to AP.

Israel, a Huntington Democrat, defeated John Gomez of Bayport, bucking an anti-incumbent wave that swept Israel's party out of power in the House of Representatives.

AP reported just before midnight that Democrat Eric Schneiderman, a Manhattan state senator, defeated Republican Dan Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney.

State Comptroller and Long Islander Thomas DiNapoli defeated wealthy Wall Street financier Harry Wilson.

During the campaign, Wilson appealed to voters to bank on his expertise as an elite investment banker who did so well he retired at 37. DiNapoli argued that he has helped pull the state through a serious crisis and this is no time to change horses.

The comptroller is responsible for the $125-billion state pension fund.

On the national scene, Republicans will control the House, but the Democrats will still have the Senate, the AP reported early Wednesday.

With Sid Cassese, Mitchell Freedman, Joie Tyrrell, Sophia Chang and Carl Corry

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