Congressman Charles Rangel felt victorious even before the returns were in. Facing the greatest challenge of his political career, the 80-year-old congressman told a crowd of supporters, "Prayers do work."

With only a trickling of returns counted, Rangel did not immediately declare victory, but sure sounded that way when he asserted, "This is not a victory for Charles Rangel. It's a victory for the community."

Rangel, seeking his 21st term, was fending off five challengers and is facing a congressional trial on 13 ethics charges. Despite that, he is considered a hero to many voters in Harlem. Governor David Paterson told the crowd, "All these years Charlie Rangel stood up for us, tonight we stand up for him."

Adam Clayton Powell IV, a state assemblyman, presented the greatest challenge to Rangel's 21st term. He's the son of the late congressman Rangel succeeded 40 years ago. The winner of the Democratic primary historically goes on to win the election, just seven weeks away. With a public and potentially embarrassing trial ahead, Republicans are expected use it for political fodder.

Former Mayor David Dinkins told PIX News the message Rangel's victory sends is "The people haven't forgotten all the good he has done."