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.
Jun 26th - 12:20 pm
Clyde Williams, who has gained some late momentum in today’s five-way Democratic primary in NY-13, insisted during an interview with CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield this morning that the race isn’t, and in his mind, never has been, about veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel, whose challengers are seeking to deny him a 22nd term in the House.
Banfield opened the interview by noting Williams extensive experience as a political operative (he worked with former President Bill Clinton’s foundation and also was a top official at the DNC), and then played something of a sympathy card for the 82-year-old Rangel, saying:
“But for a lot of people, I think, they might say, this seems mean. I mean, it seems almost as though you could be considered – you and your other fellow challengers – could be considered like vultures over top of a guy in a hospital bed that’s got hospital sheet…tainted by ethics.”
(Rangel, as you’ll recall, was in the hospital for an extended period earlier this year to receive treatement for a viral infection in his back. In fact, during his own interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, he said “my opponent announced while I was in the hospital”, but didn’t specify which opponent he was talking about. He also said he now has a clean bill of health ).
“Well, I don’t see it that way. And this election to me is not about me, it’s not about Charlie Rangel. It’s really about the future of our community and who has the best ideas to move our community forward, and that’s what I focus on. I never bring up the congressman’s ethics issues or anything as it relates to him.”
“…From day one, I never thought that was the way to run a campaign. I believe people want people to talk about what is the best way to improve their lives and how are you going to do something to make the lives better for them, their children, and their grandchildren.”
Later, Williams reiterated that he has known Rangel for a while and thinks he’s a “great guy.” He didn’t mention – nor was he asked – about the man who is widely considered Rangel’s top challenger, Sen. Adriano Espaillat.
In an interview with The Politicker’s Hunter Walker, Williams rejected the idea that he’s going to finish third in today’s primary, noting he has received the endorsements of both the Daily News and New York Times and also managed to file moer than 6,000 signatures on his petitions to kick off his campaign.
In his interview with Banfield, Wiliams claimed to be the only candidate in the field who has taken a poll, which he said showed 70 percent of residents in NY-13 want “new leadership,” adding that he is more interested in addressing “decades-old problems that have gone unresolved for farr too long” – from educational achievement gaps to high unemployment to the healthcare disparities - than in simply ousting an iconic congressman.
Jun 14th - 8:34 am
With less than two weeks remaining before the June 26 primary, the New York League of Conservation Voters has thrown its support behind Rep. Charlie Rangel as he fights for his political life in NY-13.
“With clean air, clean energy and green jobs under assault in Washington, we need strong and consistent environmental champions more than ever,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn.
“Charlie Rangel has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments and he has a strong plan for even more environmental progress to protect our families and make the transition to a clean-energy economy.”
“The environmental choice for the 13th District is clear: The New York League of Conservation Voters is proud to endorse Charlie Rangel for Congress.”
The League cited Rangel’s extensive record, which includes pushing key amendments to the Clean Air Act, two decades of support for a wind energy tax credit, and backing of stronger fuel efficiency standards.
Rangel also recently co-sponsored the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, which would require public disclosure of chemicals used in hydrofracking.
NYLCV has a history of supporting Rangel’s main primary rival, Sen. Adriano Espaillat, and even named him an “Eco Star of the Year” back in 2008 when he was still in the Assembly.
That was thanks in part to Espaillat’s support of two of Mayor Bloomberg’s key initiatives: Congestion pricing, which ended up dying at the hands of his Assembly Democratic colleagues, and construction of a marine transfer station on Manhattan’s Gansevoort Peninsula.
Espaillat’s willingness to carry the Gansevoort bill even though his district was nowhere near the site of the project at odds with his colleagues who represented the impacted area.
Despite Espaillat’s green history, however, the NYLCV eventually decided that Rangel’s “breadth and depth of commitment to the environment” merited this endorsement.
Because the primary is so close, it’s unclear how much the League will actually be able to do for the congressman in terms of fundraising, though an appeal will be sent to its members, according to a source with knowledge of the plan.
Starting this week, the NYLCV will send staff up to Harlem to work on Rangel’s campaign. A phone-banking and canvassing effort will start next week.
It’s also likely at least one mailer will be sent out by the NYLCV on Rangel’s behalf.