New York's 13th Congressional District elections, 2012

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New York's 13th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 26, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Charles Rangel Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Michael Grimm Republican Party
Michael Grimm.jpg

New York U.S. House Elections
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2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of New York.png
The 13th Congressional District of New York held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Charles Rangel was re-elected on November 6, 2012.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
April 16, 2012
June 26, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: New York has a closed primary system, meaning only registered members of a particular party may vote in that party's primary.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by June 1, 2012. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 12, 2012, or October 26, 2012 in person.[2]

See also: New York elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election was incumbent Michael Grimm (R), who was first elected to the House in 2010. Due to redistricting, Grimm ran in the new 11th District, and 15th District incumbent Charlie Rangel ran in the new 13th.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. New York's 13th Congressional District is located in the southeastern portion of the state and includes parts of New York City.[3]

On the night of the Democratic primary, Rangel declared victory with a 2,000-vote lead over challenger Adriano Espaillat. Over the next 12 days, that lead shrunk to 990 as the city elections board finished counting all of the votes, which they completed on July 7, 2012.[4] Espaillat had filed court documents, and a judge granted his request to hold certification of the vote tallies until Espaillat had a chance to make his case that some voters had been improperly disqualified.[4][5] On July 9, 2012, however, Espaillat conceded the election and opted not to pursue further legal action.[6]

Some said discrepancies at the polls and in the vote counting raised questions about the Board of Elections' credibility.[7][8] Several Hispanic advocacy groups investigated whether some voters were unfairly disenfranchised in the election.[6]

Fusion voting

New York is one of eight states that have "electoral fusion" -- which allows more than one political party to support a common candidate. This creates a situation where one candidate will appear multiple times on the same ballot, for the same position. Electoral fusion was once widespread across the United States, but is now commonly practiced only in New York.

Opponents of fusion voting argue that the process results in dealmarking to ensure that patronage is rampant.[9] Proponents maintain that fusion voting allows for minor parties to actually make a difference during the election, allowing voters the opportunity to vote for a minority party platform but still affect the general election result.[10]

Candidates appearing in the general election will be listed below with colored dots corresponding to any party they will represent on the ballot.


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic PartyWorking Families Party Charles Rangel Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Craig Schley
Independent Deborah Liatos

June 26, 2012 primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Working Families Party Working Families candidate

Independent Socialist Workers candidate

Map of the 13th Congressional District of New York before and after the 2010 redistricting. Click on the link for an interactive map of the congressional districts in New York. For an interactive map of the districts prior to the 2010 Census, click here.

Election results

General Election

U.S. House, New York District 13 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCharles Rangel Incumbent 75% 174,789
     Republican Craig Schley 5.2% 12,132
     Independent Deborah Liatos 2.4% 5,533
     N/A Blank/Void/Scattering 17.5% 40,718
Total Votes 233,172
Source: New York State Board of Elections "U.S. House of Representatives Results"

Primary ballot contest

While Charlie Rangel declared victory on election night with a 6.6 percentage-point lead, his lead shrunk over the next few days as results continued to trickle in. Adriano Espaillat took back his concession and prepared to challenge the final count in court. After that final count was completed on July 7, 2012, Espaillat conceded the election for good on July 9, 2012, although he and others continued to question the Board of Elections' actions.[6][16]

As of Thursday, June 28, 2012, 94% of precincts had reported, and Charlie Rangel's lead in the Democratic primary had shrunk from 6.6 percentage points on election night to 3 percentage points. Challenger Adriano Espaillat was just over 1,000 votes behind Rangel.[17]

As of July 2, 2012, Rangel's lead had shrunk to 802 votes.[18] By July 3, 2012, Espaillat had filed court documents calling for a recount and possibly a new election.[19] The city Board of Elections had yet to finish counting all of the paper votes.[20]

On Friday, July 6, 2012, ballot counts showed Rangel with about a 1,000-vote lead.[21] Espaillat was scheduled to make a case in court on July 11,[22] saying that some ballots for him were incorrectly thrown out, or request a new election altogether.[21] Espaillat also faced pressure to choose between pursuing the 13th District race or filing for re-election to his New York State Senate seat on July 12, since New York state law forbids politicians from running for two offices simultaneously.[21]

On Saturday, July 7, 2012, the city Board of Elections finished counting all of the ballots, and Rangel beat Espaillat by 990 votes.[4] The results were not yet official, as a judge delayed certification until Espaillat could make his legal case on July 11. Espaillat planned to argue that some voters were unfairly disenfranchised.[4][22] In a press statement, Espaillat said: "A ballooned number of affidavit ballots and hundreds of calls of people that said they were turned away because they said they couldn’t find them in the books? ... No notification for a voter that there was an election. All these things amounted to a big red flag."[16]

On July 9, Espaillat conceded the race.[6] He opted not to make his case in court, saying "[W]e came up short — 2 percent... It’s virtually impossible for the results to be different."[6] He and other still had doubts about the Board of Elections' handling of the primary,[16] but he is leaving further presses to advocacy groups.[6]

Race background

Democratic primary

Charlie Rangel had represented New York's 15th District since he was first elected in 1970. Due to redistricting, his territory was redrawn into the new 13th District. The 2012 Democratic primary election presented Rangel's toughest challenge since he defeated the previous incumbent 42 years ago.[23]

State Senator Adriano Espaillat, former Bill Clinton staffer Clyde Williams, former executive Joyce Johnson, and former Rangel intern Craig Schley all challenged Rangel in the June 26 Democratic primary.[24][25]

Analysts expected race to come into play, as demographic changes and redistricting meant that the traditionally black district is now majority Hispanic.[26] Rangel's foremost challenge came from Espaillat, who was born in the Dominican Republic.[26] While considered a "black politician," Rangel also has Puerto Rican heritage.[23][26]

Two other main issues were Rangel's recent ethics violations and his extensive term in office. Rangel received censure from the U.S. House in 2010 for failing to report some income.[26] And Rangel's challengers pointed out that the 82-year-old congressman has been in office for over half his life.[25][26] The incumbent also suffered health problems this past year that kept him out of Washington for significant chunks of time, raising questions about his ability to represent the district.[26] Rangel, however, dismissed these objections: "If I can support the initiatives that we started, how can I possibly sit on the sidelines?"[23]

Incumbent Michael Grimm was a part of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, a program to help House Republicans stay on offense and increase their majority in 2012.[27]


June 14, 2012

On June 14, 2012, all five Democratic candidates met for a debate. Rangel and Espaillat traded some intense words, with Rangel questioning a petition drive for Espaillat that the state senator says he's not involved with. Espaillat parried by bringing up Rangel's own ethics issues. Williams urged the candidates to avoid personal attacks and focus on the issues. Schley commented that Rangel was "antiquated" and was past his political prime.[25]

Super PAC involvement

The Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability targeted Rangel for defeat in the primary.[23]


Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in New York

Following the results of the 2010 Census, New York lost two congressional seats, bringing its total number of representatives down from 29 to 27. In the redrawn map, the 13th District now includes much of the territory of Charlie Rangel, who represents the pre-redistricting 15th District, along with parts of the Bronx.[23]

According to a report in the Washington Post political blog "The Fix," New York was one of the top 10 redistricting battles in the nation.[28]

The 13th District was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[29][30]

Registration statistics

As of October 29, 2012, District 13 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the New York State Board of Elections:

New York Congressional District 13[31]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 13 357,113 282,108 17,978 57,027 Democratic 1469.18% 1397.54%
"Party advantage" is the percentage gap between the two major parties in registered voters. "Change in advantage" is the spread in difference of party advantage between 2010 and 2012 based on the congressional district number only.

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. New York's 13th District remained more Democratic after redistricting.[32]

  • 2012: 90D / 10R
  • 2010: 90D / 10R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measured each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. New York's 13th Congressional District had a PVI of D+41, which was the second most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 94-6 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 90-10 percent over George W. Bush (R).[33]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


This is the 13th Congressional District prior to the 2011 redistricting.

On November 2, 2010, Michael Grimm was elected to the United States House. He also ran on the Conservative Party candidate. He defeated Michael E. McMahon (D), and Tom Vendittelli (Libertarian).[34]

U.S. House, New York Congressional District 13 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMichael Grimm 49.5% 65,024
     Democratic Michael E. McMahon 46.2% 60,773
     Blank/Scattering 3.6% 4,700
     Libertarian Tom Vendittelli 0.7% 929
Total Votes 131,426

See also


  1. York ABC News, "2012 General Election Results," accessed November 6, 2012
  2. New York State Board of Elections, "Voting Deadline Page," accessed June 30, 2012
  3. New York Redistricting Map, "Map" Accessed September 25, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Wall Street Journal, "Board of Elections: Rangel wins by 990 votes," July 7, 2012
  5. Washington Post blog, "Rangel opponent files for re-vote in increasingly tight primary," July 5, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 New York Times, "Rangel’s Opponent Gives Up And Will Halt Court Challenge," July 9, 2012
  7. Newsday "Rangel-Espaillat race highlights need for statewide election standards in NY," July 5, 2012
  8. New York Daily News, "Troubling actions by Board of Elex members," July 6, 2012
  9. Clarence Bee, "State Senate candidate calls for an end to fusion voting", accessed September 19, 2013
  10. Oregon Working Family Party, "What is Fusion Voting?", accessed September 19, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 New York Board of Elections "List of Filings for June 26, 2012 Federal Primary," accessed May 30, 2012
  12. Columbia Spectator 'Harlem activist Craig Schley formally announced his candidacy against longtime Representative Charles Rangel" accessed February 17, 2012
  13. NY Daily News "Clyde Williams adds big-money names to list," April 13, 2012
  14. Capital Tonight "Joyce Johnson Makes 2nd Attempt Against Rangel," March 28, 2012
  15. New York Elections "2012 Candidate List"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Politicker, "Adriano Espaillat Won’t Be Giving That Apology to The Board of Elections," July 10, 2012
  17. Politico, "Rangel results still unsettled," June 28, 2012
  18. Chicago Tribune, "Rangel rival challenges primary results," July 2, 2012
  19. Wall Street Journal, "Espaillat seeks recount or new NY primary election," July 3, 2012
  20. New York Daily News, "Adriano Espaillat vs. Charlie Rangel showdown: Espaillat's lawyer accuses Board of Elections of stonewalling in ballot challenge," July 3, 2012
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Wall Street Journal, "Rangel Adds To Vote Edge in New Count," July 6, 2012
  22. 22.0 22.1 New York Times, "Rangel’s Slim Lead Widens as Ballot Count Continues," July 5, 2012
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Roll Call, "Charlie Rangel at Risk in Rough Race," June 13, 2012
  24. New York Daily News, "4 candidates for 13th C.D. make hay at Lehman TV debate - but Rangel skips it," June 13, 2012
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 NY1 "Sparks Fly Between Rangel, Espillat At ICH Congressional Debate," June 14, 2012
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 NPR "Harlem Icon Faces 'Perfect Storm' In Re-Election Bid," June 13, 2012
  27. NRCC "Patriot Program 2012"
  28. Washington Post, "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011
  29. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "New York's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  30. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  31. New York State Board of Elections, "District Active Enrollment 2012," April, 2012
  32. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in New York," September 2012
  33. Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
  34. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"