Charles Rangel's Primary Win Hangs in the Balance

An absentee ballot count may result in a different outcome.

Posted: 07/02/2012 11:45 PM EDT
New York Rep. Charles Rangel

When New York Rep. Charles Rangel returned to Capitol Hill last Wednesday after a bruising re-election bid, a stream of fellow lawmakers offered him their heartfelt congratulations on his primary win. The raspy-voiced congressman had narrowly beaten state Sen. Adriano Espaillat in a newly drawn district that is home to significantly more Latino voters than in Rangel's old district.

Saturday night, the New York Board of Elections announced that Rangel leads by only 802 votes and approximately 2,000 affidavit and absentee ballots have not yet been counted. Espaillat's campaign has questions about the integrity of the counting process and filed a lawsuit that will be heard today in New York State Supreme Court.

“We want to make sure that we have an opportunity to exercise every right every candidate has, to not only observe the canvassing of ballots but to protest or challenge ballots,” said Martin Connor, an attorney hired by the Espaillat campaign who specializes in election law.

The tally from the affidavit and absentee ballots could determine the final outcome of what has been Rangel's toughest race in 42 years.

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(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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