Charles Rangel's Primary Lead Disputed

The longtime New York City congressman says he's "baffled" by Adriano Espaillat's challenge.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

For decades, Harlem Democrat Rep. Charles B. Rangel's seat in Congress went unchallenged. That changed this year when he participated in a five-way primary, seeking the nomination for his 22nd term.

The win he celebrated last week is now being challenged as his margin of victory decreases and his main opponent, Adriano Espaillat, says he'll order a recount of the votes. Rangel, who sent an email asking supporters for contributions to defend a possible court fight, has said he's "baffled" by the developments.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Adriano Espaillat isn't going away.

The Washington Heights state senator who last week conceded a narrow loss to Rep. Charles Rangel in a Democratic primary said Monday that the result is now unclear. His lawyers said the campaign plans to ask a judge to order a recount of the votes and left open the possibility that they would ask for a new election

"We cannot have a Florida-type situation in New York state," Mr. Espaillat said at a news conference in northern Manhattan, referring to the disputed 2000 presidential election. "We may not be looking at people looking at the pregnant dimples, but certainly the Board of Elections has not conclusively given us a result for this election. In fact, they have engaged in a murky process with a lack of transparency."

Rangel's lead now stands at 802 votes -- about 2% of the total votes cast. On election night, his lead was about 6 percentage points, according to unofficial tallies. The next day, it shrunk to 2.6 points as the Associated Press rechecked those tallies, which are reported by the police and poll workers. About 1,000 absentee ballots and 1,200 cast on a provisional basis by voters whose eligibility was unclear on election night have yet to be counted.

The Board of Elections defended its procedures.

"They have been given complete access to the entire process," a spokeswoman said. "The entire re-canvass proceedings have been transparent."

Read more at the Daily News and the Wall Street Journal.

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