- Last Updated: 6:47 PM, July 7, 2012
- Posted: 5:54 PM, July 7, 2012
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel apparently has sewed up his victory over his Democratic primary challenger on Saturday with a margin of 990 votes.
After a ballot count that started days ago, New York City Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said the 82-year-old congressman received 18,940 votes. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat got 17,950 votes in the June 26 primary.
The outcome was so close that Espaillat contested it. He charged in court that his supporters had been improperly turned away from polls.
About 2,000 absentee and affidavit ballots were counted at the board's lower Manhattan offices. Rangel's lead widened from 802 votes when the tallying started Thursday.
For the latest result to become official, it must be certified by board commissioners, likely by Tuesday, said Tim Gay, the board's deputy chief clerk.
Either politician may still challenge the board's numbers.
Rangel, a powerful New York politician who had survived many challenges to his longtime congressional tenure, is running for his 22nd term.
On Friday, the Board of Elections filed a notice of appeal and was granted an automatic stay of a Bronx State Supreme Court ruling preventing the board from making the election results official, said board attorney Steven Richman. On Thursday, Justice John Carter ruled that the city board could certify the tally for Rangel and Espaillat but couldn't transmit the result to the state elections board until he approved it.
Rangel's attorney, Arthur Greig, said Espaillat was just trying to slow down the process.
The parties are due back in court Wednesday, one day before Espaillat must declare his candidacy if he plans to give up on the U.S. House race and run for re-election to his state Senate seat.
The congressional primary appeared decided last week on election night, with Rangel seemingly holding a sizable lead.
Ballots from three of 10 state Assembly districts contained in the 13th Congressional District, which covers parts of Manhattan and the Bronx, were counted on Friday. The other seven were counted on Thursday.