While Adriano Espaillat declared victory his primary opponent in the race to replace Charlie Rangel was not ready to admit defeat. Our Courtney Gross has the story from Harlem.
"This campaign ain't over," said candidate Keith Wright.
Behind by more than a thousand votes, Assemblyman Wright refused to concede the race to replace Congressman Charles Rangel Tuesday night to State Senator Adriano Espaillat.
"No candidate can declare victory tonight not until every vote is counted," Wright said.
He claimed there had potentially been voter suppression and called for the Justice Department to investigate. His evidence: an internal memo from a pro-Espaillat Super PAC which had referred to the suppression of African-American and white voters.
"All of the ghosts of the civil rights movement, all of the ghosts of Jim Crowing, all of the ghosts of poll taxes started to emerge," Wright said.
Investigation or not, Wright said every ballot, including paper ones, deserved to be counted.
Regardless, Tuesday's results show a clear power shift in the 13th Congressional District, which had been the hub of African-American politics since World War II.
The vote perhaps was also a referendum on Rangel's legacy. Wright was his hand-picked successor.
As the vote was coming in, Rangel refused to see it as a tight race.
"Everything that had to be done that I would think has been done," the Congressman said. "I am satisfied that we had a good campaign under the circumstances."
Asked if he could imagine the seat being held by someone not from Harlem, he only said this:
"I have never thought about that happening in all of my years, my 72 years," the retiring Congressman said. "It's always been. How could that be?"
Wright has been in the state assembly since the early 1990s so for now it's unclear if two political careers ended Tuesday night.