(CNN) - While Rep. Charles Rangel of New York celebrates a major primary victory this week - his toughest challenge in 42 years - the state is stepping in on ballot complaints that could wind up changing the results.
New unofficial numbers released Saturday night by the New York City Board of Elections show Rangel ahead of his main challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, by only two percentage points - 44% to 42% - with just 802 votes separating them and more than 3,000 votes unaccounted for.
The figures come after Espaillat’s campaign filed a lawsuit contending too many ballots were left outstanding in Tuesday's election.
"Four days after polls closed, we finally have a preliminary vote count, excluding thousands of paper ballots. With each new tally, Senator Espaillat's vote total increases. As paper ballots begin to be counted and this dead-heat race continues, we are grateful to all of our supporters and will continue to push for full transparency in counting every single vote," said Espaillat's spokesperson Ibrahim Khan in a statement.
The state Supreme Court decided Friday to hold a hearing on the election results, which is on the docket for Monday, according to the court system.
Espaillat conceded defeat to Rangel Tuesday night, as tallies showed the 21-term Democratic congressman had netted about 45% of the vote, compared to Espaillat at 40%, in a multi-candidate race.
The new two-percentage-point margin includes votes cast in electronic voting machines during Tuesday’s primary.
According to the board’s spokeswoman, Valerie Vazquez, there are 3,270 votes to sort through from affidavits and absentee ballots – a tally that could potentially swing the results.
That figure includes 2,494 affidavits, which consist of paper ballots from those whose names were not on voter register lists at respective polling sites, and therefore ineligible to vote on a machine. The board has to first verify that those names are in fact registered before their votes can be added to the final count.
Vazquez said 776 absentee ballots also remain outstanding. The total sum of additional votes will not be finalized until after Thursday, she added. Only then will there be an official margin.
"Our policy and procedures require a manual hand count if the margin of victory is less than one half of a percentage point," Vazquez told CNN.
Espaillat, a 57-year-old Dominican-American, has used his background to court Latino votes and take aim at the 82-year-old Rangel over his long tenure in Washington and his ethics abuses. If he had won Tuesday, he could have been on the way to being the first Dominican-American elected to Congress.
Rangel campaign spokeswoman Ronnie Sykes had no comment on the upcoming hearing. Rangel's new district - the state's 13th Congressional District - stretches from East Harlem to the northwest Bronx.
– CNN’s Ashley Killough, Dan Verello, Jason Kessler and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.
Even with Rangel's record to my dismay I'd rather see Rangel win. Go Rangel!!!!!!!
Moral of the story- dont conceed till ALL votes r counted! Duh. Who conceeds 2 someone else when that someond else hadn't even hit 50%?
Sounds like dead people are voting another reason the Dems don't want voter ID.
Must be some really stupid people in NY to vote for a person like him sounds like the same people in CA voting for Nancy..
He should not have been allowed to run. How many tax evasion charges have to be levied to put him in jail? Any other American citizen would have been behind bars long ago. What a crook!
Hmmmm, looks like Espaillat is acting like the typical Rethuglican stooge that he is and trying to steal the election away from.....ooooooh, wait, nevermind, carry on
Wahhhhh! You LOST! Try putting on your big boy "dominican american" panties and grow a pair in them. We don't act like this. Maybe you should join the Republican party if you insist on doing so.
he's 82 years old...why does he still even want to be there?
Here we go again, beating up on another democrat. You cant beat them on the issues so go after the birth certificate, hold them in comtemp, they are communist and on and on. How low can you go.
Charlie is corrupt, pure and simple. Been in congress too long, and made too many friendships with bad people to keep his seat. As a proud liberal, I can only hope he is found to have tampered with the vote, sentenced to prision and let the new blood democrat in office.
Sure hope this is not another case of Democrat's inability to punch holes in paper.
Get rid of Rangel already. A repeated tax cheat, he doesn't seem to mind telling the rest of us we need to pay more taxes. Who votes for this guy? And we wonder why DC is so screwed up...
So the tax cheat also cheats at the polls. What a surprise.
Why do people even bother to go to the polls to vote if the ballots are not being counted? If the cry is to GET OUT THE VOTE then please COUNT the votes.
He conceeded then files a lawsuit,I wonder how it would be the other way around.Didn't Kerry conceed to Bush,than after that election scandal that found Bush stealing votes Kerry won anyway,how one sided.Republicans have been doing just that for years,stealing elections.Bush stealing two and you hypocritical republicans know it,remember Gore leading for all of the 2000 election,being deemed the next president then losing to Bush with his brother Jeb,the Florida governor stealing votes for him in Florida.The head of Florida elections having to resign amongst facts that voters ballots favoring Gore were found by investigators months later in central Florida and as usual nothing against Bush was ever done.Those are just two high profile elections being swayed by republican corruption in states nationwide,now with republicans and their extreme voter supression bills trying to be passed in republican governed states nationwide also.These voter supression bills were absent during republican primaries but are now being made public during this presidencial election cycle with republicans,the guilty hypocrites causing all the ruckus before the elections ever take course.Republicans pretty much know that voter supression is the only way to keeping this election close,they know they've shot themselves in the feet more than once with all ethnic groups,in men,women and seniors...
Voter fraud is the Democrat establishment way.
charlie the con....got multiple rent-controlled apartments–including one being used illegally as office space... he helps oversee the tax laws but can't figure out his own....charlie, eat that wig on yer head and go write a book that no one will read...please, please vote this forked-tongue washibgton hack out...
What's the difference Puerto Rican American, Dominican American, We are all Americans. Don't know much about Mr. Espaillet
Rangel should start a web site called 'crooks are us'
he should have gotten Acorn involved, they could have found many votes from dead people, illegals and animal names.
Send that eff'er to prison for the rest of his life.
The guy is a crook. .
Rangle supporters stuffing the ballot box? Hard to believe isn't it?
voting irregularies + a democrat.. who woulda thought?
Is he American or not?