Longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel told The Politicker yesterday that rumors that he was considering retiring instead of facing the voters were untrue.
“I don’t know why it comes up really. I really don’t know,” he said after a press conference at Grand Central Terminal to protest Republican cuts to mass transit. “Unless people are saying I am prepared to outright lie to my constituents and tell them an untruth, I don’t know why it is raised.”
There are a number of reasons why the drumbeat for Mr. Rangel’s graceful exit from Congress is growing louder. Mr. Rangel is 81. He is no longer chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, an it is unlikely he will get the gavel back. The Democrats are in the minority. After he was censured by the House, he remains something of a toxic presence for Democrats in New York and around the country. Plus, with the once-a-decade reapportionment coming, Mr. Rangel will either be facing new voters in the Bronx and Westchester, or face a majority Hispanic district in Harlem
He said he would prefer the latter.
“We’ve got 27 members [of the New York Congressional delegation] and they would rather have the best possible district they can. It just makes sense for people that I have represented for 40 years, regardless of what their backgrounds are, that I would continue to represent them. This doesn’t mean that Dominicans and Hispanics and other people don’t have different ideas. So I want what everyone of the 27 members want, and that is a district that is favorable to them and their constituents.”
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