It turns out Assemblyman Keith Wright was correct when he said earlier this week that veteran Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel will be making an announcement “sooner rather than later” about whether he’ll seek yet another 23rd term in 2014.

What Wright was not (ahem) right about, however, is that Rangel has already made a decision about running. Not only is the congressman still considering retirement, but he has also started to meet with potential successors.

“I had thought about retirement very, very seriously and it’s not off the table,” Rangel told our Washington, D.C. Bureau reported Michael Scotto today.

“But the truth of the matter is I have to give people that want to aspire to fill the vacancy – which it would be if I retired – time to raise the money and get known throughout the district, and I meet every week on this issue with different candidates, and those I haven’t met with I’m meeting with this weekend.”

“…I’m talking with some people seeing whether or not there can be some coalition around a candidate as it has been for the last 43 years,” Rangel continued. “But before Christmas I’ll have to make some decision.”

Wright, who chairs the Manhattan Democratic Party and co-chairs the state Democratic Party, is frequently mentioned as a potential successor to Rangel. The assemblyman unequivocally told the New York Post that the congressman “is running,” adding: “You can’t keep a war horse down.”

Rangel has since said in multiple interviews and a video statement released by his office that he has not, in fact, made up his mind yet about 2014.

While speaking to Scotto, he shied away from saying he is seeking his own replacement, but did hint that somebody – and he refused to name names – around whom he thought a coalition could be built recently decided they’re no longer interested in the job.

“That person decided that they have other political ambitions, and I had worked with that person for a number of years, but I have to respect their decision,” the congressman said. “I say all of that to say that I was left without a possible successor that had already done these things – knowing all the community leaders.”

Despite being censured for ethics violations in 2010, Rangel won a hotly contested Democratic primary in 2012. His toughest challenger was Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who is widely expected to run again next year.