Rep. Charles Rangel has declared victory in another close primary race and the Associated Press has called the race in his favor, but state Sen. Adriano Espaillat still has not conceded.
Rangel won with 47 percent of the vote, while Espaillat had 44 percent, pastor Mike Walrond had 8 percent, and Bronx activist Yolanda Garcia had 1 percent when the AP called the race shortly before 4 p.m. today. Rangel’s margin stood at slightly more than 1,800 votes.
“Words cannot describe my overwhelming gratitude to the voters “¦ for standing with me to the very end and giving this veteran his one last fight,” Rangel said in a statement. He said he hoped “to begin the healing process” after the divisive primary and announced that he would attend a “unity rally” with Rev. Al Sharpton, who did not endorse him in the race.
But Espaillat still has not conceded, citing outstanding absentee and provisional ballots. Espaillat insisted that “every single vote needs to be counted in this race,” in a statement late Tuesday night, and spokeswoman Chelsea Connor said Espaillat has not changed his mind since then.
Rangel’s reelection bids have become more difficult since he was censured in 2010 over several ethics issues and especially after redistricting in 2012 transformed his district into a majority-Hispanic constituency.
In 2010, he barely won the majority of votes in a six-candidate primary field. And in 2012, he didn’t even get majority support in a crowded field but still beat Espaillat by slightly more than 1,000 votes.
The rematch was expected to be competitive, although Rangel appeared to be ahead late, leading by 13 points in a mid-June NY1/Siena College poll. He also had an advantage over Espaillat in his reliable base of supporters who have kept him in office for more than four decades. But primary turnout is always unpredictable, especially since New York moved its congressional primaries from September to June in 2012.
The district’s divided demographics led to a divided race. In the NY1/Siena College poll, Rangel led Espaillat among African-American voters 76 percent to 6 percent, and Espaillat led Rangel among Hispanic voters 53 percent to 29 percent. Rangel even accused Espaillat of entering the race only because he thought he could win over the Hispanic population.
“Just what the heck has he actually done besides saying he’s a Dominican?” Rangel said in a debate.
The debate also focused on the length of Rangel’s tenure. Espaillat and another candidate emphasized their relative youth, while Rangel frequently mocked Espaillat for his lack of experience.
Rangel also did not have as much support as he used to, missing out on endorsements from President Obama and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both of whom stayed out of the race. In previous campaigns, Rangel had been endorsed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and he once again got Bill Clinton’s support.
Rangel has said this would be his last reelection campaign, meaning another crowded field of Democrats will compete to take over the heavily Democratic seat in two years.
What We're Following See More »
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.
"President-elect Donald Trump railed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his way to winning the White House and has vowed immediately to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation accord. Several of his cabinet picks and other early nominees to top posts, however, have endorsed or spoken favorably about the trade pact, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, announced Wednesday as Mr. Trump’s pick for ambassador to China, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Mr. Trump’s pick to head the Department of Defense."