The Rangel/Espaillat Race Might Be Much Closer Then We Think

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On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Congressman Charlie Rangel had the primary election in the bag. Against eleven counts of ethics violations, voters once again handed one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus a victory, sealing up his 22nd term as a member of the House of Representatives. His opponent was State Senator Adriano Espaillat, a public figure looking to become the first Dominican-American on the Hill.

However, soon after the initial reports were in, it was revealed that a vast number of ballots had not been counted by the Board of Elections, leading Espaillat to call out the Rangel campaign (in front of his own office!) for calling the race way too soon. 

So, the BOE did a recount and it turns out that this one is going to come down to the wire: with the new numbers in, Rangel has 44.29% of the votes cast (18,075 in total) while Espaillat has 42.33% (17,243 votes in total). That means that the latter is trailing the former by only 802 votes and there are still 2,110 paper ballots left.

In other words, this is going to be a close one.

Now, even with those 2,110 uncounted ballots in mind, Espaillat still needs to own the recount with at least 69 percent of the votes favoring him. Also, there are a bunch of absentee ballots that are still streaming into the BOE's offices. His supporters have argued that the ballots are coming from Espaillat-favored neighborhoods but, even so, it will be very difficult for him to pull this one away from Rangel. 

With this pressure in mind, Espaillat's offices' legal teams are fighting to make the recount process much more transparent. On Thursday, an injunction was filed with the State Supreme Court and the challenger will have a hearing tomorrow. According to the Wall Street Journal, 6% of precincts have still not been counted and Espaillat is arguing that this constitutes about 70 districts' votes. 

The numbers will continue to come out this following week. The Voice will keep you updated on the dead-heat.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]

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