After two weeks of uncertainty, Rep. Charles Rangel has been officially certified the winner in the 13th Congressional District Democratic primary.
In what had been a highly disputed contest, Rangel’s margin of victory over his opponent, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, expanded after Espaillat challenged the count, taking his case to court.
On Monday, he conceded defeat, telling the press, “It’s virtually impossible for the results to be different.” He added that his legal challenge was over.
Rangel was magnanimous upon hearing of the concession and offered this press release:
“I am very pleased that the Board of Elections has certified the votes and made my victory official. I hope to immediately start the healing process in the community so we can work together to improve the lives of the people in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. It has been my greatest honor to work in the U.S. House of Representatives for the past four decades to make sure my constituents’ voices are heard in Washington.”
What immediately echoed from his quarter was a desire to resume working on behalf of President Barack Obama, who faces an equally daunting race for re-election.
“I was proud to work with President Barack Obama to pass the historic health care bill and am looking forward to fighting for his re-election and helping advance his agenda,” Rangel declared.
“At a time when too many Americans are still suffering from joblessness and struggling to afford their health insurance, homes and education, we cannot let Republicans roll back the progress we have made. I sincerely thank the voters of New York’s 13th Congressional District for allowing me to return to Congress next year to represent their interests and to fight to move America forward,” he continued.
“I am grateful to my friends and supporters for their tremendous help. I couldn’t have won without their support. It is a true honor and privilege to serve my community and country that I love so much.”
Since the 13th District, like the old 15th, is largely Democratic, Rangel’s 22nd term in office is virtually assured.
Espaillat’s decision not to pursue the issue in court was very timely, since he had to indicate by Thursday whether he was going to run for re-election to the state Senate. He cannot seek two electoral offices at the same time.
Even so, the senator was still seemingly unsatisfied with the way the Board of Elections handled the matter. “Is the Board of Elections a reliable entity?” he said. “I feel not.”
If Espaillat seeks to retain his position in the Senate, his opponent, it has been rumored, will be Guillermo Linares, who backed Rangel.
Linares, a former City Council member, is currently an assemblyman representing the 72nd Assembly District, a position previously held by Espaillat.