Charlie Rangel's Recount Lead Grows

Wake up, Charlie -- you're probably going back to Congress.
Wake up, Charlie -- you're probably going back to Congress.

Things are looking up for longtime Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel, whose lead in a recount of last week's primary vote continues to grow.

As of this writing, Rangel's lead over former state Senator Adriano Espaillat's is 1,158, which is up from the 802-margin the 82-year-old congressman boasted before election officials started counting absentee ballots yesterday.

Last week, Rangel came out on top in the five-person Democratic primary -- and that's after he was formally censured by the House of Representatives for multiple ethical violations stemming from (among various other ethical issues) his failure to pay taxes on income he received from a rental "villa" he owns in the Dominican Republic (that photo to the right is Charlie enjoying his villa).

However, Espaillat demanded a recount after alleging Hispanic voters (who would benefit the Hispanic Congressional wannabe) were turned away from voting booths and bilingual election officials were replaced with ones who only speak English. This year is the first time Rangel's had to face voters since getting censured -- and since the 2010 census had him redistricted into New York's 13th Congressional District, which is 55-percent Hispanic, an obvious benefit for Espaillat.

In addition to his ethical issues -- and redistricting dilemma -- Rangel had trouble raising money for what is now his 22nd re-election campaign. Fellow Democrats -- who'd received favors from Rangel in the past -- ponied up the cash to fuel his primary push.

Despite Rangel's new district being predominantly Hispanic, it's still a Democratic stronghold. In other words, Rangel's likely a shoo-in in the general election -- should he escape the recount as the Democratic nominee.

The recount is expected to completed by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. However, if the final difference is less than one-half of 1 percent of all votes cast, there could potentially be a full manual recount.

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