According to sources familiar with the situation, State Senator Adriano Espaillat plans to run for the House of Representatives if a predominantly Latino Congressional District is drawn in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx when the redistricting process is completed later this year. If his Congressional campaign is successful, Senator Espaillat would be the first Dominican in the House of Representatives.
In a boost to Senator Espaillat’s congressional chances, sources indicate his longtime rival, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, is leaning toward announcing his support of Mr. Espaillat’s potential Congressional campaign.
Congressman Charlie Rangel currently represents much of the area, but Mr. Espaillat is not thought to desire a direct match with the veteran representative.
While the area is quickly becoming more and more Latino, multiple redistricting options for the seat exist. For example, the NAACP proposed a plan that would connect the district to Westchester to keep a strong African-American influence in the seat. However, Albany marches to its own beat and Congressional lines are still very much uncertain.
District lines for the state legislature are expected to emerge later this morning, but no details about boundaries for federal offices appear likely to arrive in the immediate future. New York is one of the few states left in the entire country where this is still the case.
However the lines are drawn, it’s clear Upper Manhattan will be a hotbed of political activity in the coming year. The New York Times reported Clyde Williams, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, is likely to run for Mr. Rangel’s seat. Vince Morgan, a former aide to Mr. Rangel, has already started a campaign for his seat as well. And former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, who ran in 2010, is also looking at the seat should Mr. Rangel retire, as is Assemblyman Keith Wright and a whole host of others in Harlem’s extremely active political scene.
For his part, Mr. Rangel recently told The Politicker he’s concerned about the redistricting process.
“It is not progressing. We don’t know who’s in charge, we don’t know who’s going to make the decision and it’s a rough decision getting 27 into–after losing two seats. We’ve got to expand. To expand you’ve got to push somebody aside,” Congressman Rangel said.
Senator Espaillat currently represents the 31st State Senate District, which includes a small corner of the Upper West Side, the Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil sections of The Bronx and almost all of Manhattan North of 158th Street. The seat was previously occupied by Eric Schneiderman, who vacated it when he became state Attorney General. Senator Espaillat is widely considered a rising star in the state Democratic Party. During his senate campaign in 2010, he earned influential endorsements from Mr. Schneiderman and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.