After Long Count, Espaillat Concedes Race to Rangel

New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat conceded victory to Congressman Charles Rangel for the second time on Monday in the democratic primary race for the 13th Congressional District.

Espaillat had conceded on election night, June 26, when Rangel held a lead of close to 20 percent of the votes. But by the next morning, the margin shrank to a 2 percent difference, or just over 800 votes.

Rangel’s lead now stands at 990 votes, after the Board of Elections included its counts of absentee and affidavit ballots this weekend.

“After consulting with my attorneys, we looked at the numbers,” Espailliat said. “We felt that numerically, mathematically, there really wasn't a possibility to turn this around so we conceded.”

Rangel issued a victor statement early Monday evening where he thanked his supporters and congratulated Espaillat for running an "ambitious campaign."

While conceding, Espaillat said he is also withdrawing his case in State Supreme Court, where lawyers were expected to begin showing evidence of voter fraud and intimidation at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning. Espaillat had claimed in court that his supporters had been improperly turned away from polls.

Rangel's statement also touched on this issue. It read: "Although there was no evidence found, I look forward to working with [Espaillat] to uncovering any possibility of voter suppression or fraud, as well as to foster reconciliation and unity across the communities that became divided during the campaign."

But Espaillat's campaign will be backing the efforts of Latino Justice, a legal advocacy organization.  Latino Justice sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice last week requesting it investigate the New York City Board of Election’s handling of this race.

Espaillat also had harsh words for the New York City Board of Elections. Assessing the board’s performance, Espaillat cited the 28 votes the board found on Monday. 

“Two weeks later, they are still digging up votes to be counted,” Espaillat said. “I don't think that's what New Yorkers want. They want a reasonable report after an election that conclusively and transparently tells them who their representative is.”

The board has not yet certified a winner for the primary in the 13th district. It is expected to certify Rangel as the winner on Tuesday.

Espaillat would not say whether he will seek re-election to the New York State Senate. The deadline to file petitions for that race is Thursday.