State Sen. Adriano Espaillat Concedes House Race Against Incumbent Rep. Charles Rangel

by Associated Press
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espaillat truck
Scholz, flickr

The decision comes amid allegations of voter tampering.

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel's Democratic primary challenger conceded on Monday, almost two weeks after a closely contested race in New York City that included allegations of polling place improprieties and even voter suppression.

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, the first Dominican-American to serve in the state Legislature, would have become the first Dominican-American in Congress if he had prevailed. He hasn't decided whether he'll run for re-election in the Senate. Rangel, a powerful New York politician who had survived many challenges to his longtime congressional tenure, is running for his 22nd term. His campaign manager, Moises Perez, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Rangel faced one of his toughest fights since being elected to Congress in 1970, tainted by an ethics scandal that led to his censure in the House in 2010 and running with newly drawn boundaries that made the district majority Hispanic, seemingly favoring Espaillat.

The congressional primary appeared decided on election night June 26, with Rangel holding a sizable lead. But some precincts hadn't been counted, and when they were, the lead quickly shrank to about 800 votes and a count of paper ballots loomed. Over the weekend, Rangel had apparently clinched his primary victory by a margin of 990 votes. After a ballot count that ended Saturday, New York City Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said the 82-year-old congressman received 18,940 votes.

Espaillat won 17,950 votes in the June 26 primary. Espaillat had claimed in court that his supporters had been improperly turned away from polls. The parties had been due back in court Wednesday. Espaillat said his lawyers will drop the court action.

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