FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2010 file photo, candidates for New York attorney general, Republican Dan Donovan, left, and Democrat Eric Schneiderman, take part in a debate at the WAMC Linda Norris Auditorium in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Albany Times Union, Paul Buckowski, File)
The race for New York Attorney General came down to the wire on Tuesday, and by early Wednesday morning, Democrat Eric Schneiderman shot out ahead over Republican challenger Dan Donovan, according to NBC News election results.
In a victory speech, Schneiderman said he is ready to talk about "cleaning up problems in the public and private sector," and was "amazed to be standing before you tonight."
Pledging to "stand up to bad actors in the private sector" and to "restore confidence in the markets," he said "no" to what he called "Tea Party rhetoric."
With 97 percent of precincts reporting as of 7:40 a.m. Wednesday, Schneiderman had 55 percent of the vote. Donovan logged 44 percent.
In his concession speech, Donovan said he will be proud to go back to his post as District Attorney of Staten Island. "We all made an effort to make our state a better place to live....I wish State Sen. Schneiderman all the best as the next attorney general. Eric Schneiderman is now our attorney general, and his success helps all of us," he said.
"I wanted to be the man in arena," said Donovan, Republican candidate for NYS Attorney General after calling his Deomcratic opponent to concede the race. He told supporters just before 1 a.m. Wednesday that he is disappointed to have lost, but would have felt worse not to have run.Opinion polls had showed the two men were in a dead heat in the final days of the campaign, with a Siena Poll released Oct. 31 indicating they were tied at 44 percent.
Schneiderman, a state senator, served in the legislature for more than a decade where he advocated for gun control laws and reform of the Rockefeller Drug laws, his campaign Website said As a public interest lawyer prior to elected office, Schneiderman says he defended women's clinics attacked by anti-abortion groups and represented taxpayers in the lawsuits against the MTA.
"I want to be the sheriff of Wall Street, of Albany, of Main Street," Schneiderman has said of his run. He's picked up the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton who called him "a true leader for reform, a pro-choice reformer who tossed out a corrupt senator of his own party. "
Donovan, the District Attorney of Staten Island, received the endorsement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Ed Koch, as well as a host of other heavy hitters. During his eight year tenure, his office boasted a felony conviction rate of over 90 percent. He was also the first prosecutor on Staten Island to use New York's Hate Crimes statute to prosecute bias crimes.
"We need somebody that is totally independent and not somebody that’s been part of the problem (in) Albany that everybody complains about,” Bloomberg said of Donovan during a campaign rally Tuesday. “You’ll never get anybody in Albany to clean it up if they’re part of the problem.”
Both candidates attempted to define themselves during this race as candidates who would, in fact, clean up the corrupt political climate of Albany.
Donovan has said that, if elected, he would give the Attorney General more jurisdiction in corruption cases and would require legislators to disclose their outside incomes, while Schneiderman has compared himself to Andrew Cuomo, and saying his priority would be to expand the office’s public integrity branch and have staff to safely bring complaints about state and local officials.