Charlie Rangel's lead shrinks; he fundraises off of vote count court hearing

ByABC News
July 2, 2012, 11:53 AM

— -- Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel's primary lead shrank over the weekend to 802 votes as his challenger lawyered up for a court review of the protracted vote count.

Last week, the latest totals available from the June 26 13th District primary showed Rangel with a 1,032 vote lead over state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, according to the Associated Press. But new totals reported Sunday showed a more narrow margin than that.

Espaillat on Friday announced that the New York state Supreme Court had agreed to hold a hearing Monday following Espaillat's appeal to be permitted to monitor the Board of Elections' proceedings, "as required by law," Espaillat's campaign said in a statement. The campaign announced Sunday the hiring of election attorney Martin E. Connor as Lead Attorney for the proceedings.

Rangel's camp maintains confidence in their advantage, but used the court battle Monday to issue a new fundraising pitch.

"To my surprise, my opponent's campaign pounced on me on Friday, saying that I had somehow stolen their votes! I'm completely baffled by the situation and the way my opponent has been reacting," the longterm New York incumbent wrote in a fundraising email.

"I don't know what will transpire in the coming days, but one thing is clear: I need your help to prepare myself for another battle--whether it's a legal battle with the Board of Elections or with my opponent."

Rangel declared victory and Espaillat conceded Tuesday night as Rangel held a wide vote lead.

Espaillat's supporters last week voiced concern that Espaillat-friendly territory remains to be counted and was not tallied on election night.

A reported 3,000 affidavits remain to be counted, in addition to military and absentee ballots. Complete vote totals for those types of ballots are scheduled to be released on July 5 according to state election scheduling.

The state Supreme Court hearing on voting transparency is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Monday.