Carl Paladino has won the Republican nomination for New York governor against former Rep. Rick Lazio, the Associated Press projects.
With 42% of precincts reporting, Paladino leads Lazio 67%-33%.
Paladino has been gaining momentum in the polls leading up to the primary, and becomes the latest Tea Party-backed candidate to upset a more establishment Republican pick. He will go on to face Democratic nominee Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in the general election. Cuomo is heavily favored.
Paladino has generated some controversy since announcing his candidacy. He sent out a series of racist emails, suggested welfare recipients should be housed in prisons, and became quite outspoken in his opposition to the Park51 Islamic center near Ground Zero.
Lazio also focused much of his resources on opposing Park51, but it was not enough to overcome Paladino’s personal fortune and appeal to populist anger.
We’ll see if Paladino’s “I’m mad as hell” slogan and personal wealth can put a dent in Cuomo’s rather overwhelming lead. The TPM Poll Average shows Cuomo ahead in the general election matchup, 58.3%-25.9%.
Full coverage of the race here.