Rangel climbs ahead in tight race

 

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) looks set to hold on for one more term in Congress, holding a lead over New York state Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D) for the second consecutive election.

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The Associated Press has not called the race, but NY1 has called it for Rangel, who led Espaillat 47 percent to 44 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

"We don’t need a whole lot of numbers to be able to tell you how good we feel, how proud we feel, that we were able to bring together people and cultures from all over the district,” Rangel told his supporters late Tuesday evening, according to the New York Times.

But Espaillat wasn’t ready to concede, trailing by only 1,837 votes. A similar scenario unfolded in his first match-up with Rangel last year, which translated into a slim 1,086 vote lead once the final votes were counted.

It was a message Espaillat reiterated, telling NY1 that "Every vote must be counted." Espaillat adviser Lis Smith tweeted that there were still thousands of absentee ballots to be counted.

Rangel, 84, faced a tough reelection battle in a district that became significantly more Hispanic and less African-American after 2010's redistricting and has been rapidly changing due to gentrification. 

Espaillat, a hard-charging young lawmaker, had held him to a slim victory in 2012 and was back with more name recognition this time around.

But Rangel, recovered from some health issues he faced two years ago, ran a stronger campaign than last time and fought hard enough to keep himself in Congress for one more term in the heavily Democratic Harlem-based district.

This story was updated at 12:55 a.m.