Rangel raises for the legal defense of his re-election

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Rangel. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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Representative Charlie Rangel sent out a fund-raising email to supporters this morning, appealing for donations to help fight any potential legal battles in his suddenly close race for re-election against State Senator Adriano Espaillat.

After declaring victory on primary night based on the unofficial tallies, it was discovered that several pro-Espaillat precincts hadn't been accounted for, leading the race to tighten significantly as those counts came in. Over the weekend, the Board of Elections sent out an updated, but still unofficial count, that put Rangel ahead by 802 votes.

The longtime congressman and his aides have mostly declined to comment on the matter, but Rangel is pretty explicit in this morning's appeal.

"My race is going to Court," reads the subject line. On Friday, Espaillat's camp sought and won a hearing today in New York County Supreme Court to ask the courts to oversee the process.

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

The race between Rangel and Espaillat grew increasingly bitter toward the end, with Espaillat raising Rangel's past censure, and the congressman scoffing at the idea that the state senator had done anything of consequence that would merit a promotion.

Here's the full email:

Dear -

By now, I'm sure you've heard that my race is completely not over. It's been days since primary day, yet there are still votes to be counted.

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.

As the Daily News reported, "State Sen. Adriano Espaillat's campaign isn't hiding its pleasure at the news that the Manhattan Supreme Court will hold a Monday hearing on the results of his election battle with incumbent Rep. Charlie Rangel."

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.

Would you please consider making a contribution of $10.00 or more? Your financial help will allow me to receive legal counseling for the bumpy roads ahead. 

I will keep you posted. Thank you for being a friend.

Sincerely,          

Charlie Rangel

Member of Congress