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Schneiderman defeats Donovan in AG race

Eric Schneiderman delivers his victory speech after he

Eric Schneiderman delivers his victory speech after he was elected as the next NY Attorney General. (Nov. 3, 2010) Credit: Charles Eckert

Democratic State Sen. Eric Schneiderman of Manhattan defeated Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, a Republican, Tuesday night in the race to succeed Andrew Cuomo as New York Attorney General.

Schneiderman's win represents a victory for abortion advocates and a defeat for those who backed Donovan, perceived by some as sympathetic to Wall Street.

"I believe in being part of a collective that works for the common good," Schneiderman said early Wednesday at a Manhattan hotel. He thanked advocacy groups and the labor movement, saying he would battle "powerful forces" that denigrate others. "Equal justice under law . . . This is the essence of what America's about," Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman, 55, had strong support in most of New York City. Donovan took a majority of votes in many upstate counties and in Nassau and Suffolk.

In the campaign's waning days, Donovan's prosecutorial experience took center stage, with backers insisting he was better qualified to ferret out Albany corruption than Schneiderman, an attorney who has never been a prosecutor.

But Schneiderman drew heavy support from abortion rights advocates who said the state needs an attorney general who will actively protect a woman's right to choose.

Schneiderman was endorsed by Cuomo, who was elected governor Tuesday.

"Democrats in New York are having a good night," said state chairman Jay Jacobs after Schneiderman's speech.

At another midtown hotel, Donovan thanked supporters, singling out Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Ed Koch. "I am not disappointed. I have had an experience I have never imagined," Donovan said. "It's been a wonderful six months."

Throughout the race to become the state's top lawyer, Schneiderman battered Donovan, 53, a former Democrat, for his anti-abortion stance - gaining the support of abortion-rights forces like NARAL Pro-Choice New York.

Donovan, a Roman Catholic who opposes abortion except in cases of incest, rape and to save a mother's life, said during the campaign he would uphold current abortion law.

Schneiderman also accused Donovan of being soft on the financial services industry when the prosecutor said he would pursue fraud on an as-needed basis but did not want to be "the sheriff of Wall Street" - a moniker claimed by former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

With Elizabeth Moore, Andrew Strickler and AP

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