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Rangel, Challengers Deflect Attention from Latest Poll

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In the countdown to a key primary Tuesday, both Rep. Charles Rangel and his main challengers are trying to deflect attention from a new poll that has the incumbent up by double digits, as Rangel doesn't want complacency and his challengers don't want voters to think he's already won. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

The street naming was for a Latin music legend, the late Charlie Palmieri, but something else is music to the other Charlie's ears.

"I'm certainly glad it went in that direction," Rangel said.

"It" is a new poll showing Rangel up 13 points from his nearest challenger.

State Senator Adriano Espaillat doesn't seem to have Rangel's pep. He has been shuttling between Albany and the district, which is largely in upper Manhattan.

It's not just fatigue he's is trying to brush off. It's poll-induced gloom.

"They're not real," Espaillat said. "Right here on the ground, you'll see the kind of support. We'll be working very hard, knocking on doors, identifying thousands of voters that have determined that they want change."

Change voters, though, may go for Michael Walrond. The Harlem pastor isn't convinced he may split the Rangel opposition.

"Polls are not always a good predictor, so to speak," Walrond said. "And then there are many of the supporters, who support my candidacy, who've been supporting this campaign, are persons who have not been coming up on the radar."

Observers actually don't expect many voters at all to show up.

"This is a race where obviously, the media is interested, obviously, people across the country are interested, but are actual voters in district 13 stop what they're doing on a Tuesday in June and go out to vote?" said Christina Greer of Fordham University.

The district includes a chunk of the Bronx that Espaillat won last time. The problem for him was that it only accounted for 12 percent of the total vote.

Racial and ethnic calculations are part of the candidates' plans. Espaillat would be the first Dominican-American in Congress.

After drawing criticism for alleged ethnic divisiveness, Rangel is now more subtle.

"This is an election for all parts of the community, not one part," Rangel said. "And when I leave, it's going to be the way I started this, whether you're black or white, whether you were born here or there."

"This campaign is not about one group versus the other. It's about really issues that impact housing, economic development, better jobs, immigration reform," Espaillat said.

And turning out the vote.

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