- Last Updated: 3:14 AM, July 5, 2012
- Posted: 12:13 AM, July 5, 2012
Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel — locked in a disputed primary vote battle with state Sen. Adriano Espaillat — yesterday invoked his role in the civil-rights movement to counter his opponent’s claims of voter suppression in Latino neighborhoods on Election Day.
Rangel (pictured), while standing in front of a statue of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. outside the Harlem state office building, said he participated in the famous march from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination.
“Fifty-four miles,” Rangel said of the march.
Rangel, 82, brought up his role in the civil-rights struggle clearly as a retort to Espaillat’s accusations that Spanish-speaking voters were turned away at the polls in the contested June 26 primary.
“You can’t just do this by calling people crooks. You can’t just knock the system,” Rangel said in defending Board of Elections workers.
The congressman leads Espaillat by a razor-thin 2 percentage points, or 802 votes, with more than 2,000 paper ballots to be counted beginning today.