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Rangel Overcomes Early Hole, Declares Victory In Democratic Primary

Updated at 12:44 a.m., June 27, 2012

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A number of hotly-contested races were held Tuesday on primary day, including the much anticipated showdown between Rep. Charles Rangel and his opponent, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

Rangel declared victory over his opponent Tuesday night. With 84 percent of the vote counted, Rangel was up 45-40 in the race for the newly-formed 13th Congressional District.

"I am so grateful for the support," Rangel said Tuesday night.

"I was pleased to see that a lot of people knew me, there was a connection," he said, adding that his incumbency helped. "When you're there for four decades, it's kind of hard for you to not be known by most people."

EXTRA: N.Y. Primary Results

Earlier in the day, Rangel said he's still the man for the job despite being censured at one time by the House for ethics violations.

"The one reason why I think it's important that I be allowed to extend the service to my country and the Congress and my district is because of the times that we find ourselves in the Congress. Never before have we faced such a fiscal crisis," Rangel said.

Rangel made it clear he passionately wants a 22nd term, having said earlier, "Well, if I lose tonight I will sleep just like a baby and cry myself to sleep."

Espaillat, who had been bidding to become the first Dominican-American in Congress, voted Tuesday with his daughter and said it was time for a new face in Washington.

"Jobs are very important; small business … people need a break. Wall Street got a break. The insurance companies got a break, but Main Street America has not got a break. They need a break," Espaillat said.

But when it was all over he said he was proud of his hard-fought campaign.

"Though we didn't make it to the finish line tonight, the values we fought for and the communities we seek to improve will continue to light a fire in us," he said. "The truth is, even in coming a bit short, we made history. We are most proud of the fact that our campaign introduced bold, new ideas to move New York forward. We will continue to fight for these ideas with every fiber of our being and make our communities stronger than ever."

Rangel was convicted of 11 ethics violations in 2010, including failure to pay some taxes and using congressional resources to raise money for an academic center bearing his name. At a hearing in front of the ethics committee, Rangel apologized "for any embarrassment I've caused you individually and collectively as a member of the greatest institution in the world."

Overall voter turnout was comparatively low, but moderate to heavy in some races, including the race between Rangel and Espaillat.

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