Adriano Espaillat is a cagey vet of New York politics.  The State Senator from Upper Manhattan didn’t hesitate on Monday to describe his persona, “I’m a fighter.”

It’s the right spirit, since he’s in the scrap of his life.  Call it political pugilism.

The fight that everyone expected to be a phone-booth slugfest, came to a rapid conclusion last Tuesday, when Espaillat conceded the primary to political heavyweight Congressman Charles Rangel.

The unofficial finish came earlier than expected with midnight still in the distance.  Espaillat’s Cinderella run turned Roberto Duran when he said the political equivalent, “No mas.”

Rangel’s victory was as sweet as it was legendary.  Back from the dead, Rangel sealed two more years on Capitol Hill.

Espaillat was on to another run for Albany.

Or so it seemed.

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