Andrew Cuomo had his “gentle colloquy” with Fred Dicker this morning and he was asked if he planned to back Charlie Rangel for re-election.
He demurred, and in doing so sounded confused about who exactly is running against the 20-term incumbent.
“The congressman is in a race with Mr. [Adriano] Espaillat, Mr. [Guillermo] Linares I think is also [in the race]. There are current members of the legislature. What I have said Fred is that I am not going to make any political decisions or statements until the legislature is gone. I don’t want the politics to interfere with the close out of this session,” he said.
Mr. Espaillat, a State Senator, is running against Mr. Rangel. Mr. Linares, an Assemblyman and longtime rival of Mr. Espaillat’s, is not, and is backing Mr. Rangel.
Yesterday, Mr. Rangel seemed to suffer from his own confusion about the race, telling Juan Williams that Mr. Espaillat was the first elected official to challenge him (in fact Assembly member Adam Clayton Powell challenged in 1994 and 2010) and that no Latinos in elected office were supporting his opponent (in fact, there are several.)
And at another moment yesterday Mr. Rangel seemed to be counting on Mr. Cuomo’s support, telling reporters that he thought the governor was on his side.
In 2010, Mr. Cuomo headlined a fundraiser for Mr. Rangel when he was challenged by Mr. Powell. This time he pushed back on the notion however.
“I will make political decisions , I will make endorsements in certain races. I haven’t decided which ones. But I don’t want to start choosing among senators, assemblymen, congressmen while the legislature is in session for obvious reasons.”
When Mr. Dicker pointed out that Mr. Rangel was no ordinary politician, but an institution in New York State, Mr. Cuomo agreed and once again threw Mr. Linares in the race.
“Yes. And Adriano Espaillat I am working with and Guillermo Linares I am working with. So let’s do the politics in the political season,” he said.