Dec 4th - 5:54 pm
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.”
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.
Sep 12th - 12:00 pm
Rep. Charles Rangel will sit down with Bill Thompson tonight in New York City to discuss whether there is a path forward for the former NYC comptroller in the mayor’s race.
Rangel told me today on Capitol Hill that he will be joined by Reps. Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries and other prominent supporters of Thompson, two days after Public Advocate Bill de Blasio came out on top in the Democratic primary.
“If the supporters believe that there’s no way rationally that he can overcome what happened in the primary then, of course, the quicker we solidify the better it is,” said Rangel
But Rangel and Meeks said they first want to determine whether the yet-to-be-counted votes favor Thompson or de Blasio.
“We have to find out if de Blasio, who is a great candidate and would be a good mayor, has received forty percent, so everything we talk about is moot,” said Rangel. “But the counting of the ballots is so far ahead that we gotta plan now as to what if anything we are gonna do.”
Meeks brushed off suggestions that a runoff would give the advantage to Republican Joe Lhota.
“Whoever the Democratic nominee is will be the next mayor,” said Meeks.
Jun 12th - 9:07 pm
Rep. Charles Rangel hosted a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. Wednesday night to celebrate his 83rd birthday, but the longtime Congressman said he hasn’t made up his mind about whether to run for re-election next year.
Rangel said he held the event to raise money to pay off campaign debts he racked up last year. According to the FEC, Rangel owed about $36,000 as of the last filing.
The fundraiser cost attendees anywhere from $250 to $5,000.
When asked when he thought he’d make up his mind about next year’s campaign, Rangel joked: “As soon as I see how much money we made.”
He said he’s focused on helping pass the President’s agenda, campaigning for New York City mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, and helping his constituents.
“This job – I’m on it to have it – but it’s not easy work,” said Rangel. “It just seems to me that if you just got elected that instead of just planning for the next election you should be showing what you’ve done with the last one.”
Mar 14th - 2:21 pm
Rep. Charlie Rangel is insisting he hasn’t made a decision about his next campaign, despite the fact that multiple sources say he has quietly informed people in his Harlem district that he won’t seek re-election in 2014.
During a brief telephone interview Tuesday, the 83-year-old Democratic lawmaker did not indicate one way or another whether he will be seeking a 23rd term next year. But he did repeatedly challenge me to reveal who, exactly, was spreading what his office called a “rumor” that he has already made up his mind and won’t be running.
“I am so busy trying to catch up on Ways and Means stuff I haven’t dealt now with re-election, and it will be a long time before I do,” Rangel said.
But a Harlem Democrat said Rangel indicated he would not be running again while speaking at a sparsely attended ribbon-cutting ceremony in the district last Friday.
And another Democratic source said the congressman has been quietly informing close friends and potential successors – a list that includes Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who unsuccessfully challenged Rangel in a very tight primary last fall; Sen. Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Keith Wright – that he won’t likely be on the ballot in 2014.
Rnagel demanded to know the identity of my sources, which I did not reveal. He also noted there were no reporters at the ribbon-cutting. Shortly after the congressman and I hung up, Rangel spokeswoman Hannah Kim emailed me the following statement:
“I don’t know where the rumors are coming from but one thing for sure is that the Congressman has just been re-elected four months ago and is working hard to get to know his constituents in the newly drawn district and represent their interests in the 113th Congress.”
Given Rangel’s age and the tumultuous last several years, which saw him censured for ethics violations by his own colleagues and weathering several multi-candidate primaries, there has been persistent speculation that he might be poised to throw in the towel – perhaps mid-term, so he could pave the way for a hand-picked successor.
Wright, the Manhattan Democratic chairman, has long been viewed as Rangel’s preferred candidate to inherit his seat, which black officials feel strongly about maintaining in their hands despite the increasing dominance of Latinos in the district.
I asked Wright if he and Rangel had discussed 2014 lately, and the assemblyman told me that he talks to the congressman almost every day, but has no idea whether he’ll be running next year.
“That’s far away, more than a year away,” Wright replied. “You never know with Charlie Rangel.”
Shortly after his narrow victory over Espaillat, Rangel sent out a fundraising appeal to supporters insisting “the fight isn’t over.”
For what it’s worth, former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, who unsuccesfully challenged Rangel in 1994 and 2010, and whose father was defeated by Rangel four decades ago, doesn’t think the congressman is running in 2014. Powell endorsed Rangel last year, but has also said he’s likely to make a third run for his seat – but this time, only if the congressman isn’t on the ballot.
Sep 18th - 4:41 pm
Rep. Charlie Rangel, who has faced a slew of ethics complaints that range from failing to report income on a rental home in the Dominician Republican and defending a tax shelter created by his House Ways and Means Committee for what later became a contributor to a school named after him, is taking Mitt Romney to task on paying taxes.
Romney was secretly recorded telling donors that 47 percent of the country doesn’t pay any income tax (untrue, considering many pay payroll taxes and state income taxes).
This didn’t sit well with Rangel, who has been accused of renting four apartments in Harlem at below-market rates:
“Everyone pays taxes,” Rangel said in a statement. “Lower income persons pay state and local, property, excise and sales taxes. In fact, when all federal, state, and local taxes are taken into account, the bottom fifth of households pays about 16 percent of their incomes in taxes, on average. The second-poorest fifth pays about 21 percent. This is higher than what the Governor has paid in income taxes. He has absolutely no moral authority to accuse nearly half of the American people of being irresponsible and freeloaders.”
Jul 11th - 1:00 pm
…catchy music (in both English and Spanish) and some flashy graphics, apparently.
Sen. Jeff Klein, head of the Independent Democratic Conference, is reportedly thinking of throwing the support of his four-member conference and its PAC behind several insurgent Democrats who are challenging incumbent members of the minority conference.
Yesterday, Klein declined to rule out potentially backing Assemblyman Guillermo Linares against Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who is widely expected to announce his re-election bid tonight after his June 26 primary challenge to Rep. Charlie Rangel failed.
That’s in spite of the fact that Klein told the Ben Franklin Club in May that while he wouldn’t support Sen. John Sampson to continue in a leadership position if the Democrats manage to re-take the majority, he might back the “right” Democrat for the job - someone like Espaillat, perhaps. (It’s unclear from the report in The Riverdale Press just how serious Klein was about that).
For several months, there has been speculation that Klein et al would support Albany County Legislature Chairman Shawn Morse against Deputy Senate Minority Leader Neil Breslin, although no formal endorsement has been announced as of yet.
And there have also been rumors that Klein might be a backer of Manny Tavarez, a Bronx Democrat who created a campaign committee on the same day his primary target, Sen. Gustavo Rivera, endorsed Espaillat over Rangel in NY-13.
Rangel has pledged to help Tavarez raise campaign cash, although it’s unclear how much weight the congressman’s support will carry in the Bronx, where he lost to Espaillat in the primary.
The Riverdale Press reports today that Klein, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage and abortion rights, is strongly considering throwing his weight behind Tavarez, despite the fact that he opposes both those hot-button social issues.
“He seems like an excellent candidate and it’s a race we’re going to be looking at,” Klein said. “I was very impressed when I saw the website and these videos. He clearly has a real campaign.”
The videos to which Klein is referring appear on Tavarez’s website. There are three, and they all feature songs about the candidate – one rap (in English) and two Merengue-style tunes in Spanish. The videos don’t really say very much, although in one Tavarez pledges to restore “confidence”, adding:
“With the last two State Senators indicted on corruption charges and the current Senator who has done nothing significant for our community, it is time we clean up politics and re-establish confidence in our elected officials,”
Tavarez told The Riverdale Press that Rivera has been “absent” and “non-existent” in the community, which I suspect would come as news to the New York Times, which profiled Rivera in May and said he’s “seeking to make a name for himself as an honest politician in the Bronx.”
Jul 4th - 9:24 am
In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s court filing reserving the right to call for a whole new election in NY-13. (This was released by the campaign late yesterday).
Also, Rep. Charlie Rangel has called an Independence Day press conference at noon in front of the Harlem State Office Building to discuss the ongoing vote count and last week’s results.
Technical note: Again, I can’t figure out how to get this to save and upload right-side up. I’m working on it. Sorry.
Jun 26th - 11:43 pm
Here’s the entire victory speech from Rep. Charlie Rangel, delivered in Harlem outside Sylvia’s restaurant.
Jun 26th - 11:11 pm
Longtime Rep. Charles Rangel, embattled by ethics investigations, public rebukes from newspaper editorial boards and aggressive primary campaigns for the last several cycles, was the apparent victor Tuesday night in a bruising five-way race.
With nearly 50 percent of the precincts reporting, Rangel cruised to victory over his nearest and fiercest competitor, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.
Rangel recorded more than 52 percent of the vote to Espaillat’s 32 percent. Cylde Williams received 11.4 percent, while Joyce Johnson and Craig Schley barely registered more than 5 percent.
The race was called for Rangel shortly before 11 p.m.
Rangel, 82, will return to the House of Representatives next year to a job he’s held for more than 40 years.
He’s survived a censure by his own colleagues and multiple attempts to end his long run in office.
Through it all, Rangel has held on.
This year’s primary challenge appeared to be the final swan song for Rangel, who was kept from Washington and the campaign trail with chronic back trouble.
Compounding Rangel’s troubles was the newly drawn NY-13 that became majority Latino.
Espaillat, a freshman state senator, would be the first Dominican-American member of Congress.
Espaillat was able to garner multiple and high-profile endorsements.
But once Rangel actually got around to campaigning, he picked up steam quickly, netting the backing of the political establishment in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed the longtime Harlem pol late last week in an interview with Capital Tonight, saying Rangel is an effective member of the House and knows his way around Washington.
The endorsement was a tribute to Rangel’s incumbency, even if the demographics of the district have passed him by.
Still, Rangel seem embittered by the victory after the major editorial boards and others declined to endorse him and seemed publicly miffed by the snub.
His health could keep him from traveling much for what’s left of his political career.
But should Rangel choose retire between now and 2014, he can claim he went out on his own terms.
Jun 26th - 5:18 pm
Rep. Charles Rangel is 82 and has a history of chronic back troubles that kept him out of Washignton for various periods of time.
But he told supporters after voting in today’s heated five-way primary that his age hasn’t been questioned during the campaign.
“Let me try to get rid of some of the nonsense questions and that is: Am I told to run for re-election? Clearly I’ve gone through the process, I’ve done what candidates are supposed to do, I still have my wife over 40 years,” Rangle said. “I’m not thinking about going into the marathon yet. I’m not going to do anymore dancing until after the election is over. But I don’t think anyone that is running or not running is going to challenge my health.”
Of course, the overriding question isn’t necessarily one about age, but whether Rangel should be granted another term after 42 years in office in a new district that is no longer demographically African-American, but reflects the shift toward Dominican and Latino voters.
But say what you will abour Rangel — even in what is expected to be the final political battle of his career, the guy still has a sense of humor.