News | West Harlem

After final count, Espaillat comes up short, concedes to Rangel

  • AT LAST | Rep. Charles Rangel last month. After two weeks in flux as the Board of Elections hand-counted ballots, State Senator Adriano Espaillat conceded that he could not overcome a deficit of nearly 1,000 votes to Rangel, the 41-year congressman.

State Senator Adriano Espaillat found himself in the same position on Monday afternoon as he was almost two weeks ago: conceding a hard-fought House of Representatives race to Rep. Charles Rangel. But this time, it was for good.

In the June 26 primary for the 13th Congressional District, the Associated Press declared Rangel the winner when he was ahead by about 20 percentage points. But the 41-year House veteran's lead kept shrinking: he finished the night with just a 5.4 percentage point lead and when every district was counted by July 1, his lead was down to a mere 802 votes.

It took 10 days to get to the final count, which left Rangel with 18,940 votes, 990 more than Espaillat's 17,950.

As it emerged that the Board of Elections had still not counted over 2,000 absentee and affidavit ballots by the Friday after the primary, Espaillat appealed to the state supreme court in Manhattan, asking a judge to address concerns that votes were improperly tallied.

He withdrew that appeal and refiled in the Bronx to address more relevant sections of the law. Meanwhile, the Board of Elections began to hand-count the remaining ballots on July 5.

The district is one of the most Democratic in the nation, encompassing Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, and—a new addition this year—the northwest Bronx. The redistricting process just cut out Columbia's Morningside campus—which will now be represented by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, CC '69—though it includes the medical and Manhattanville campuses, drawing the southern border at West 123rd Street.

Pundits had expected Espaillat to turn his attention to his re-election to the state senate, in which he represents Washington Heights and Inwood. In his concession speech Monday, he said he would would make up his mind by Wednesday. In that race, he faces Assembly member Guillermo Linares, a Rangel ally who was the first Dominican-American elected to office in New York. (Espaillat was the first Dominican-American elected to the state legislature.)

Democratic district leader Mark Levine, an Espaillat ally, has been considering a run for the state senate, but said he would reserve making an announcement until Espaillat had made up his mind, according to the New York Times.

This primary, which all but guarantees Rangel's election to a 22nd term in November—he is running unopposed—was the toughest of the 82-year-old congressman's long career. Besides Espaillat, three others challenged Rangel. Two of them—former Clinton adviser Clyde Williams and former Democratic district leader Joyce Johnson—received more votes than the difference between Rangel and Espaillat, with 4,227 and 1,009, respectively.

finn.vigeland@columbiaspectator.com

Correction: An earlier version of this article reported that Adriano Espaillat was considering running for U.S. senate. He is in fact considering running for re-election to the state senate.

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rick131 posted on

They are no longe our Morningside Heights Congressman. We don't care.

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Anonymous posted on

You are stupid. 

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Anonymous posted on

No, sounds like you are. Spec does not know who are Congressman is, what district we are in, or the fact that Morningside Heights is part of the Upper Wrst Side and not Harlem.

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ColumbiaSpectator posted on

Thanks for your concern. Spectator serves a readership that stretches across the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, and Harlem, and as such our city news section aims to cover those neighborhoods, with our eastern boundary generally being Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. We frequently write about other West Harlem news throughout the year.

As pointed out in the story, Columbia is no longer in Rangel's district but in Jerry Nadler's, but a sliver of Morningside Heights and all of West Harlem is still represented by Rangel. Regardless, the politics of one region necessarily affects its neighbor.

Best,
Finn Vigeland
City News Editor

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