CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York Republican State Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy has declared victory in the Republican primary in the race for the newly drawn New York U.S. House District 23.

Voters took to the ballot box Tuesday in this contentious race. The Associated Press called the race for Langworthy early Wednesday morning, punching his ticket to the November 8 general election.

Langworthy claimed victory after securing 24,275 votes, 52% of the vote, as of 12 a.m. Wednesday.

Local real estate developer Carl Paladino pulled 22,283, 48% of the vote with 95% of precincts reporting, also as of midnight.

Langworthy spoke to an enthusiastic group of supporters, saying: “Tonight the Southern Tier made me the comeback kid. This is an overwhelming victory to the hours and the miles on the road — what was a very short campaign. But, it was a campaign about ideas and the brand of leadership that we need in Western New York and the Southern Tier.”

Paladino chose not to speak with his supporters Tuesday night. His campaign spokesperson Vish Burra released this statement, “We are seeing a number of statistical irregularities in a number of counties that we will be looking in the coming days. We want every single legal vote to count.”

Wednesday afternoon Paladino released a statement conceding the race to Langworthy. The developer also thanked his supporters.

“I am truly blessed with the greatest family and friends in the world. Western New York is my home, and I am humbled by the voters who turned out to support me,” Paladino said. “My story is proof that the American dream is possible. I want to personally thank Assemblyman David DiPietro, Rob Astorino, Tim Howard, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik for their friendship and support during this race. I also want to thank my staff and the hundreds of volunteers who helped my campaign. It is time to move onto the next chapter of my life. I am forever grateful for this community. I will always advocate for Western New York.”

Paladino and Langworthy squared off after Rep. Chris Jacobs, who represented the now defunct NY-27, dropped out of the Congressional race. NYS Conservative Chairman Gerard Kassar called out Jacobs’ position on guns “unsatisfactory” after he spoke out against the sale of AR-15s. His comments came in the wake of the May 14 Buffalo supermarket mass shooting.

The Congressional and State Senate primaries were pushed from June to August after the redistricting process in Albany took longer than expected.

More than a month after Paladino announced his candidacy, NY Republican State Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy threw his hat in the ring for the Congressional seat.

In his campaign announcement, Langworthy said if elected, he plans to take on President Biden and “radicals” Washington. He added, “We can’t send someone to Washington to just make noise; we need to send a proven leader who will fight – and win.”

Key issues he zeroed in on while campaigning was slashing “reckless spending” to bring down inflation, lowering gasoline prices and defending the second amendment.

Langworthy went after Paladino this month for leasing a property to Planned Parenthood, calling the developer an “abortion profiteer.” Paladino responded saying the lease agreement predated his ownership of the property.

Paladino ran for New York State governor in 2010 and served as a controversial member of the Buffalo Board of Education until he was removed from the board in 2017.

Paladino told News 4 he wanted to run because he felt those in this district were cheated by their representatives in the past.

Among the issues his campaign focused on, he vowed to stand up against “radical Democrats in Albany who are trying to take away your Second Amendment rights,” according to his website. He also has put an emphasis on being tough on crime, lowering inflation and voiced opposition to “non-historical teaching of critical race theory” in schools.

Paladino vowed if elected, he would pursue impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden on his first day in office. He’s come under fire for comments he made on WBEN Radio in February 2021, saying, Adolf Hitler is “the kind of leader we need today” because of his ability to mobilize crowds. After the interview re-surfaced, Paladino called his comments, “a serious mistake.”

Most recently, he came under fire for saving U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland “should be executed” for the authorization of a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property. He later clarified what he meant by his comments, “I’m just being facetious. The man should be removed from office,” Paladino said.

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.