Tasini Gives Up On Gillibrand, Sets Sights On Rangel
And then there were none.
Labor activist Jonathan Tasini, the last remaining primary challenger to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, confirmed today he has given up on his quest to oust the appointed junior senator and has decided to join the fray against embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel instead.
Tasini, who lost a longshot primary challenge to Gillibrand’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, in 2006, admitted his decision to drop out of the race this year was mostly motivated by his failure to raise sufficient funds to, as he put it, “be heard.”
To date, Tasini has managed to raise just $124,244, where he had hoped to bring in between $2 million and $3 million. He has $7,938 on hand and $5,482 worth of debt.
Gillibrand, by contrast, has raised $8.7 million and has $6 million on hand.
Tasini said he had “no expectation” of winning in 2006, but someone needed to challenge Clinton from the left and debate her “yes” vote for the Iraq War.
He said even if he had managed to raise $10 million four years ago, he would not have been able to defeat former First Lady, who was well-known and very popular at the time.
“That was not true of Kirsten Gillibrand, who continues to be unpopular, and has never been elected,” said Tasini, who called it a “sad commentary on the Democratic Party” that the Obama administration and top New York leaders have systematically pushed Gillibrand’s challengers out of the race.
Tasini offered some parting shots at Gillibrand, saying she “essentially has no principles other than: How do I get elected?”
As for Rangel, Tasini predicted the scandal-scarred congressman, who was forced to give up his Ways & Means Committee chairmanship in the wake of a critical ethics committee report and remains under investigation, will “cost Democrats seats all across the country” if he’s the nominee.
“It’s a sad thing to say, but that is, I think, a fact,” Tasini said. “And he will be the face of the Republican attack ads about corruption. And it is ironic, the Democrats actually took power back in the House making the argument of Republican corruption, and it’s now going to be turned back on us.”
Tasini said he plans to make Rangel’s ethics probes an issue, but also will bring up his “bad” trade votes and support of things like the Columbia University expansion, which Tasini believes is bad for the district.
So far, two Democrats have formally announced their intention to challenge Rangel: Vince Morgan and Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV. Tasini said he doesn’t believe Morgan has either the experience or the name recognition to win. As for Powell, Tasini had this to say:
“I think people are fed up with the dysfunction of politics, and they want ethical politicians, and I don’t think either the incumbent or Adam Clayton Powell IV passes the test.”
Tasini noted the 15th Congressional District, where he has lived for more than two decades, is the smallest in the nation, geographically speaking. He plans to go door-to-door and be in the streets as much as possible.
Tonight, he plans to pitch the Three Parks Independent Democrats in his new capacity as a congressional contender.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on May 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm, and is filed under Barack Obama, Charlie Rangel, Congress, Democrats, Downstate NY, Jonathan Tasini, Kirsten Gillibrand, Labor. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|