Espaillat Chooses de Blasio Operative to Run Expected Congressional Bid

State Senator Adriano Espaillat. (Photo: Facebook)
State Senator Adriano Espaillat. (Photo: Facebook)

State Senator Adriano Espaillat has hired a campaign manager for his probable bid against Congressman Charlie Rangel. 

Mr. Espaillat recently chose Jesse Campoamor, an 1199 SEIU operative who worked on Bill de Blasio’s successful mayoral campaign, to steer his congressional challenge, two sources with knowledge of the decision told Politicker. 

“Jesse is a battle-tested field and labor operative whose whole specialty is assembling black-Latino coalitions,” said a source allied with Mr. Espaillat. “He has working relationships with every leader in Harlem and labor, and knows exactly what concerns each one has about Rangel’s declining viability. His hiring shows that the Espaillat team is looking to play offense, and is making serious inroads into Harlem communities Rangel can no longer take for granted, especially with another Harlem-centric candidate in the race.”

An Espaillat spokesperson confirmed the hire.

The hire is yet another sign that Mr. Espaillat is very serious about trying to unseat Mr. Rangel for a second time. In the 2012 Democratic primary, Mr. Espaillat nearly upset the veteran Harlem lawmaker in a redrawn district that now includes heavily Latino portions of uptown Manhattan and the Bronx. Sources say Mr. Espaillat, who also recently signed up a prominent fund-raising firm and reported raising over $100,000, could announce his bid as soon as next month. 

Mr. Campoamor played a key role in 1199’s campaign efforts on behalf of Mr. de Blasio, according to a City & State profile, and also boasts deep ties to the uptown political world. He has worked on several other winning campaigns, including Mr. de Blasio’s 2009 public advocate race and Eric Schneiderman’s 2010 attorney general bid. 

But Mr. Espaillat will not be the only contender for Mr. Rangel’s seat with ties to Mr. de Blasio. Rev. Mike Walrond, a Harlem pastor belonging to Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, is also running for the seat. Mr. Walrond was an early backer of Mr. de Blasio mayoral campaign and remains close to the mayor, sources said. 

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