U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, the face of Harlem politics for generations, held off a strong Democratic primary challenge and moved one step closer to what he says will be his 23rd and final term in the House.
With 100 percent of the vote counted in unofficial results, Rangel, 84, led State Sen. Adriano Espaillat 47.4 percent to 43.6 percent, a difference of fewer than 2,000 votes. About 47,000 votes were counted Tuesday. The Associated Press called Rangel the winner based on fresh information Wednesday afternoon from the city Board of Elections on the numbers of absentee and provisional ballots cast that were not included in the election night tally. The number of absentee and provisional ballots were not sufficient for Espaillat to catch Rangel.
Rangel and Espaillat had stayed out of sight Wednesday, and Rangel's campaign didn't immediate respond to inquiries after the AP called the race. Espaillat's campaign declined to comment. Rangel's campaign had announced earlier Wednesday that he planned to attend a "unity rally" Saturday at the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters in Harlem.
"Now that the campaign is over and Congressman Rangel has won, we look forward to coming together and addressing the issues facing the 13th Congressional District," senior campaign adviser Charlie King said in a statement announcing the appearance.