Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) primary challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, conceded to the congressman on Thursday, a day after the race was called for Rangel.
Rangel declared victory in the primary on Tuesday night, with an 1,800-ballot lead, while thousands of provisional and mail ballots had yet to be counted. But The Associated Press called the race for Rangel on Wednesday, giving him his 23rd — and, he says, final — term in office.
Rangel's rematch with Espaillat was one of the toughest election fights of his career, but in the end his margin of victory was greater than it had been in 2012. The contentious campaign had both candidates accusing the other of inappropriately infusing race into the fight, as Espaillat drew on the district’s majority Hispanic population for his support and Rangel looked to rally his base of African-American voters.
Espaillat acknowledged that conflict, but said he had focused on unity in his campaign. He also announced his reelection bid for the state Senate.
“While much has been written about the politics of race and ethnicity within this District, there is no question that our campaign focused on bringing the community together around our shared needs and struggles,” he said.
“Today, I am announcing my re-election campaign for the New York Senate from where I will continue to work to find new ways to bring jobs, affordable housing and immigration reform to our community, so that middle and working class families can thrive here.”