UPPER MANHATTAN — Not so fast, Charlie.
With 94 percent of precincts reporting, just 1,032 votes separate the 21-term congressman from the up-and-coming, Dominican-born senator, according to a rolling tally by The New York Times.
The numbers were enough to lead some Espaillat supporters to wonder whether news outlets had declared the race too soon.
"I am incredibly proud of our campaign. Our message of bringing bold, new ideas to change Congress connected with voters, as demonstrated by our strong show of support and the voting results that continue to come in,” Espaillat said in a statement, a day after conceding the race.
Returns from 32 of the district's 506 precincts, as well as an unknown number of absentee ballots, remain to be counted, according to the Associated Press, which is responsible for disseminating vote counts to other media outlets.
Sources close to the senator said the campaign is now pushing hard to have at least 1,000 affidavit ballots, which are given to those who arrive at the polls but whose names don't appear on voting rolls, included in the count.
But Rangel's campaign spokeswoman, Ronnie Sykes, remained confident the new numbers wouldn't impact the race.
"We are going through the process like we do after every election in order to ensure each vote is counted. We are confident that at the conclusion of this process we will be victorious," Sykes said.
"A win is a win is a win,” another campaign source said.
The Board of Elections released its preliminary counts just after midnight Wednesday, which gave Rangel a decisive lead, with just under 46 percent of the vote, versus Espaillat’s 39 percent.
But spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said that some precincts had apparently failed to report their totals, and that the AP was still working to complete the count.
According to city rules, a recount would be called if the margin of victory ends up being less than one half of one percent of the total votes cast.