3:32 pm Jul. 9, 20122
State Senator Adriano Espaillat conceded his congressional race to Rep. Charlie Rangel today, but he refused to say whether it had been an "honest election."
Espaillat also said he'll withdraw a lawsuit he filed last week seeking a court-overseen recount, but said he was doing so because he didn't have enough money to proceed. The suit cited "voter suppression" and irregularities in the discarding more than 2,000 ballots by city Board of Elections workers.
Standing outside his campaign office in Inwood, Espaillat told reporters, "Congressman Rangel has won this race."
When asked by Post City Hall bureau chief David Seifman whether he considered Rangel's win "honest," Espaillat said he expected other groups to continue looking into "things [that] happened on the 26th, you know, from the changing of election district numbers, to some change in poll sites to perhaps a lack of proper notification to voters and a bunch of other things."
"This is sort of the elephant in the room," he said. "Is the Board of Elections a reliable entity? I feel not."
Espaillat also said he authorized his supporters to start collecting signatures for his re-election after Primary Day on June 26. That means he was beginning his re-election campaign for State Senate while he was also in court challenging the results of the congressional race.
A campaign spokeswoman for Rangel did not have a comment.
One Espaillat supporter already running for the State Senate seat, Mark Levine, is expected to drop out in deference to Espaillat.
Another candidate, Assemblyman Giullermo Linares—a Rangel supporter—has previously said he'll campaign for the seat regardless of who is running.
But Linares would have to give up his uncontested re-election bid for his Assembly seat to run for Senate. (Currently, Linares' daughter is planning to run for the Assembly seat.)
Espaillat refused to elaborate on the voter-fraud charges he leveled against the Board of Elections a few days ago, but said he would "fully" cooperate with other organizations still investigating.
Here's how Espaillat explained the timing of his authorization of signature-collections for the Senate bid.
"I authorized some of the district leaders in the district to begin circulating petitions after the 26th of the election day, and I will be considering my personal decision whether or not I will accept the signatures and move forward in a reelection bid … I said that I would not circulate petitions or would I submit petitions to the Board of Elections while I was running for Congress. That, I'm not going to do. Any signatures that might come forward were gathered after the 26th and I have not yet decided whether I will accept those signatures."