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Espaillat Holds Off Challenger In Closely Watched Primary

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In a primary battle featuring two of the city's most prominent Dominican-American lawmakers, State Senator Adriano Espaillat held off a challenge from a longtime rival. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

Adriano Espaillat got a hero's treatment in upper Manhattan Thursday night. He may have fallen just short in his bid to unseat Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel earlier this summer, but on Thursday the community stood with him as Espaillat -- now seeking re-election to his State Senate seat -- sailed to victory in a closely watched primary.

"Very happy this is my second bout this year, a little tired, no scratches on my face this time," Espaillat said.

Espaillat prevailed over a longtime nemesis, State Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. Their rivalry dates to 1991, when Linares beat out Espaillat for a City Council seat. This time around, the tables were turned with Espaillat winning a bitterly fought race Thursday night. With some of the city's most prominent Democrats standing behind him, he called for unity.

"This is really a time for reflection and reconciliation. And any differences that may have existed against Democrats we have to put them aside and come together as a community," Espaillat said.

Linares, even in conceding defeat, seemed to take a subtle swipe at Espaillat for what he had described as divisive campaign tactics.

"I am very, very proud of the type of campaign that I ran and I will run," Linares told supporters.

Thursday night's election was just a primary. Espaillat will still have to defeat a Republican challenger in the general election. But in what is an overwhelmingly Democratic district, a win in November is all but assured.

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