New York Rep. Charles Rangel's margin of victory in Tuesday's Democratic primary has shrunk to less than 3 percentage points, but his campaign expressed confidence that he would still win.

By midday Wednesday, with 93 percent of precincts in the 13th Congressional District reporting, Rangel had 43.98 percent, or 16,898 votes, compared with state Sen. Adriano Espaillat's 41.18 percent, or 15,823 votes, a difference of 2.8 percentage points.

That's according to unofficial results compiled by The Associated Press. Early Wednesday morning, Rangel's lead was at 5 percentage points.

Rangel campaign consultant Bill Lynch said he was confident the result would hold. "He'll still be victorious when this is over," he said.

Lynch was referring to the process by which the New York City Board of Elections officially certifies results. That process involves tallying any absentee ballots that have come in, along with the counts from the vote scanners. City Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said absentee ballots would start being opened July 5.

In a statement released Wednesday, Espaillat said the narrowing margin showed his campaign resonated with voters in the district.

His spokesman, Ibrahim Khan, would not comment on whether the candidate would seek a recount or otherwise challenge the results.

County boards of elections can start recounting the machine totals and counting absentee and affidavit ballots immediately but must wait seven days, when all the absentees must be in, before finishing the count. The county certifies its results nine days after the election and sends the results to the state.

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