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GOP's Gubernatorial Primary Race A Toss-Up

As a former Congressman, Rick Lazio has the name recognition and his party's nomination for governor, but millionaire businessman Carl Paladino has the bucks to get his name out there and the momentum to make the Republican Primary race a real contest.

A weekend poll by Siena College showed Lazio holding a one point edge 43 percent to 42 percent over Paladino -- a statistical tie. However, 15 percent of those polled were still undecided.

Despite the poll numbers, Paladino -- a Tea Party activist -- appeared to be riding a wave of voter anger that has given the political novice a mighty boost. Political strategist Hank Sheinkopf told PIX News, "Paladino's message is much more angry, more emotional, talking about issues voters are angry about, angry about taxes, angry about Obama, just plain angry."

The Paladino camp believes converting more Republicans to the Tea Party is critical to taking the lead. Turnout could be a key to the outcome. A heavier than normal Republican turnout upstate will likely give the nomination to Paladino who holds an almost 20-point edge over Lazio upstate. A heavier than normal downstate suburban turnout will likely make Lazio the GOP nominee. He holds a 25-point edge there over Paladino.

Sheinkopf believes "if more angry voters turn out, Paladino could win this thing." Political analyst Joe Wiscovich agrees. He told PIX News a victory of Paladino would have national significance because he feels "the Tea Party will build on this and will get a lot of support."

While many people are focusing on the GOP primary, others are closely watching Charlie Rangel's bid for another term in Congress. The embattled Rangel who is facing a Congressional trial on ethics charges, is being challenged by several candidates in the Democratic primary. Both Sheinkopf and Wiscovich believe the veteran Congressman will prevail. "He's going to squeak through this. He has a long tradition, and he hasn't been found guilty, they're just charges and people will give him the benefit of doubt," Wiscovich says. Sheinkopf is also of the belief Rangel will win but not by the large margins he's enjoyed in previous elections.

Polls in New York are open from 6 a.m. til 9 p.m. Get the results Tuesday night on the PIX News at Ten and on our website WPIX.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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