The New York City Board of Elections is counting the absentee and affidavit ballots cast in the 13th Congressional District primary. Our Grace Rauh has the latest on the still unsettled primary battle between Congressman Charlie Rangel and Senator Adriano Espaillat as nearly 2,000 ballots remain to be counted.
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- Voters in the 13th Congressional District went to the polls more than a week ago, but votes in the race for Congressman Charles Rangel's seat are still being counted. New numbers show Rangel's margin growing. He now has a lead of 945 votes over his chief rival, State Senator Adriano Espaillat.
“It seems that both sides are cooperating with each other and with the board and we are making good progress,” said Steven Richman, New York City Board of Elections Counsel.
That said, it could take a couple of days to count all of the 2,000-plus absentee and affidavit ballots in the race. The New York City Board of Elections began opening them Thursday morning.
Espaillat is challenging the results of the election in court. In court papers, he alleges that some Latino voters were turned away from the polls and that bilingual election workers were replaced with ones who only speak English. His campaign wants the court to order a new primary election if it determines that voter suppression did indeed take place and undermined the outcome of the race. A state court judge has intervened. The elections board is prohibited from unilaterally sending its results up to the state board to be officially counted.
“All of these issues are arising because of the problems that existed in the conduction of this election and all those things have to be resolved before we have a final result,” said Ibrahim Khan, a spokesperson for Espaillat.
Both sides will be back in court next Wednesday. It will be a critical moment for Espaillat. If he is going to run for his State Senate seat, he needs to file his petitions by midnight the next day. The deadline may force him to decide between running for re-election and pursuing his Congressional bid. His campaign spokesman is deflecting questions about the Senate race.
Khan said, “We are dead tired from this election. Believe me, the last thing we are thinking about is another election right now.”
That other election, though, is right around the corner. So one way or another, Espaillat and his aides are going to have to be thinking about it very, very soon.