Rangel Challenger Withdraws Petition to Observe Vote Count

Espaillat filed a petition Friday asking for more transparency in the vote-counting process, but now his lawyers want to keep their legal options open, a spokesman says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lawyers for state Sen. Adriano Espaillat have temporarily withdrawn their petition in their fight over his race to unseat U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel.

    Espaillat had filed a petition Friday asking for more transparency in the vote-counting process, but his lawyers got permission from a state Supreme Court justice Monday to withdraw it, so they can refile later this week using broader legal arguments.

    "I am concerned that a week later, we basically had to beat up the Board of Elections so they can give us some level of answers," Espaillat said Monday, in his first public remarks since the election.

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    Espaillat spokesman Ibrahim Khan says the move lets them keep their legal options open while they fight for transparency. He says the campaign could now push for a new vote to be held.

    In a statement, Valerie Vazquez of the Board of Elections said the board is "engaged in the recanvass process which reviews all discrepancies."

    Rangel campaign manager Moises Perez says both sides want clarity.

    "We want this process to be clear and to be concluded as soon as possible," he said.

    A tally shows Rangel with a lead of 802 votes. There are still about 2,000 absentee or other ballots to be counted.

    Rangel faced one of his toughest fights since being elected to Congress in 1970. He was tainted by an ethics scandal that led to his censure in the House in 2010. 

    Redistricting also made the district majority Latino. That seemingly favored Espaillat, a native of the Dominican Republic.

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