As Margin of Victory Narrows, Espaillat and Rangel Turn to Court

The battle to represent upper Manhattan and the Bronx continues – this time in court.  A hearing to examine the vote counting process in the 13th Congressional District race will be held in New York State Supreme Court Monday afternoon. 

State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who challenged Congressman Charles Rangel for Democratic nomination for the 13th district spoke publicly for the first time since last week’s primary. He had harsh words for the Board of Elections.

"The legitimacy of this election is at place right now," he said, as he framed the issue as one of fair elections, rather than his loss.

After last week’s primary election, incumbent Congressman Rangel declared victory based on returns, which put him ahead of his closest competitor, State Senator Espaillat. Espaillat conceded that night as well. 

But in the days since, the victory margin between the two candidates has continued to narrow. 

The latest numbers from the Board of Elections show Rangel with an 802 vote lead over Espaillat. 

Addressing his conceding of the race last week, Espaillat said, “I felt I did the right thing then. The circumstances have changed.”

There are also complaints coming from the Espaillat camp about the counting process.

“Our campaign has not been allowed to adequately monitor the Board of Elections’ proceedings, as required by law,” said Ibrahim Khan, a spokesman for the Espaillat campaign.

There are still 3,000 affidavit and absentee ballots to be counted.  That’s expected to start on Thursday.  Many of the votes are unlikely to count, if voters are not officially registered in that district.

The Board of Elections still has another week to certify the final count.