Did Charlie Rangel steal his Democrat primary? Seems likely, and all without a single Republican involved. To hear Dollar Bill tell it, only Republicans steal votes (Bush/Gore! Bush/Gore! Cheney!). So okay, all together now, “We blame Bush!”
Before things went off the rails, Tuesday night had been an evening of celebration and vindication for Rangel, who seemed to have survived the most serious reelection threat of his 42-year career in the House. After initial tallies showed the congressional titan jumping to a 20-point lead over Espaillat, Rangel took to the stage at Sylvia’s, the famed soul food institution located on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, to declare victory and then party late into the evening with boisterous supporters.
But as Tuesday turned to Wednesday and more votes trickled in, something strange happened: Rangel’s margin of victory began to shrink, first to five points and then, by midday Wednesday, to two points.