NEW YORK (Reuters) - State Senator Adriano Espaillat on Monday will formally challenge the results of his Democratic primary election against Representative Charles Rangel, whose lead has slimmed to 802 votes.
Rangel, who is 82 years old and has represented Harlem in the House of Representatives since 1971, declared victory following the June 26 Democratic primary.
But Espaillat, a Dominican-American who had strong Latino support, has complained that some ballots have not been counted, among other problems with the vote count. New boundaries transformed the traditionally African-American district into one that is heavily Latino.
The two sides will appear in a New York court later on Monday.
The winner of the primary will be virtually assured of winning the November general election to represent the district, a Democratic stronghold.
The unofficial results of the New York City Board of Elections have Rangel winning 18,075 votes, or 44 percent of 40,810 votes cast. Espaillat won 17,273 votes. The board is set to count about 2,000 absentee votes on Thursday.
The race was the strongest challenge yet for Rangel, a 21-term U.S. congressman and once-towering figure in New York politics whose stature was diminished by an ethics scandal.
The House censured him in 2010 for ethics violations, including failing to pay some income taxes, and he stepped down as chairman of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Greg McCune and Eric Beech)
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