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Espaillat concedes to Rangel in primary

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) arrives on Capitol Hill

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) arrives on Capitol Hill for a closed briefing about U.S. military action in Libya. (March 30, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

The fight for the 13th Congressional District is over, again.

After days of legal battles and a recount, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat conceded Monday to Rep. Charles Rangel in the Democratic primary.

Espaillat, 57, initially accepted the city Board of Elections' declaration that the "Harlem Lion" won the June 26 race, but rescinded that when Rangel's lead was cut to 800 after more votes were counted.

The board counted more than 2,000 absentee ballots during the weekend and found that Rangel won by 987 votes.

"It is clear that we have fallen just a little bit short," Espaillat said in a statement.

Rangel, 82, who will not be facing a Republican challenger in the general election, did not comment about the concession. He faced tough competition for his 22nd House term, not only because it was the first election since he was censured in the House, but also because redistricting changed his district to include the South Bronx, as well as Manhattan.

Espaillat said he would be dropping his lawsuit against the elections board that contended it had mishandled the primary.

Espaillat said he was unsure whether he would enter the fall Democratic primary for his State Senate seat, which already has two candidates. Petitions to get on the ballot are due on Thursday.

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