Representative Charlie Rangel's small lead over challenger Adriano Espaillat has gotten even smaller. The latest count shows a total of 18,075 votes for Rangel and 17,273 for Espaillat, a mere 802-vote, or 1.96 percent difference.
DNAinfo reports that total doesn't include some 3,000 paper ballots that have yet to be counted, including absentee and affidavit ballots. Those votes will be counted this Thursday, July 5th.
The Board Of Elections had declared Rangel the victor for the 13th Congressional District Tuesday night, saying Rangel had received 45 percent of the vote. It was discovered, however, that 15 percent of the precincts in the 13th--many in Washington Heights and the South Bronx where Espaillat, a Dominican, was expected to perform well-- hadn't been counted. This prompted Espaillat to reach out to the State Supreme Court, who is expected to a hold a hearing on the matter Monday afternoon.
"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,” Espaillat campaign attorney Martin Connor said.
An official for Rangel, while conceding that Rangel's lead will continue to drop, doubts the recount will reverse the outcome of the race. “A lot of them were probably Dominicans excited over Espaillat’s campaign who simply weren’t registered to vote or maybe not even citizens,” the strategist said. “Most of those ballots will be thrown out.”
Additionally, according to The New York Times, "the Dominican American National Roundtable called on the United States Justice Department to monitor the Board of Elections proceedings, citing concerns about voter suppression in heavily Latino voting districts."
Rangel, who got tangled in an ethics scandal in 2010, faced his toughest challenge since 1970 from Espaillat. Redistricting also made the District more Hispanic, which works in Espaillat's favor. If elected, Espaillat would be the first Dominican American congressman.