Rangel rival concedes primary bid

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., left, votes in the Democratic primary, Tuesday, June 26, 2012 in New York. Rangel faces State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who would be the first Dominican-American in Congress if he wins the primary and the November general election. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., left, votes in the Democratic primary, Tuesday, June 26, 2012 in New York. Rangel faces State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who would be the first Dominican-American in Congress if he wins the primary and the November general election.
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Updated: 7/10, 10:24

(CBS News) Nearly two weeks after the Democratic primary for New York's 13th congressional district, New York state Senator Adriano Espaillat officially dropped his bid against 21-term Rep. Charlie Rangel, who eked out a narrow margin of victory in what turned out to be an unexpectedly close contest.

"After a historic campaign where we engaged voters in Manhattan and the Bronx about the bold, new ideas needed to move our city and our country forward, it is clear that we have fallen just a little bit short," said Espaillat in a statement. "We are proud of the tremendous show of support we received at the polls and even prouder of the fact that our campaign fought for every single vote to be counted. We congratulate Representative Rangel and thank our many supporters for their strong and ongoing support."

Espaillat first conceded the race on June 26, when an unofficial primary night tally showed Rangel besting him by 6 percent. But subsequent tallies showed Rangel's lead greatly diminished, and thousands of absentee and affidavit votes had yet to be counted. Subsequently, Espaillat withdrew his concession and filed a complaint over the electoral process in the New York Supreme Court.

As the ballot count continued over the weekend, however, Rangel appeared poised to eke out a victory by 990 votes.

Ibrahim Kahn, a campaign spokesperson for Espaillat, said last week that he had "very, very strong concerns about the way this election was conducted on election night," and suggested there was evidence of voter suppression.

In a press conference Monday, however, Espaillat said he would be dropping the legal charges.

"The lawsuit will be withdrawn although there are organizations like Latino justice that are still proceeding to take a look at some of the issues regarding potential voter suppression or even the issues of language access to the polls, and I will be fully cooperating with that organization and New York efforts that they have towards the future," he said, according to the New York Daily News.

In a statement, Rangel thanked his supporters and congratulated Espaillat for running an "ambitious" campaign.

"I will continue to focus on addressing some of the most serious challenges we are facing as a City, State and country, and making sure that President Barack Obama is re-elected," he said.

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