Former Gov. David Paterson has ruled out for good a run at Congressman Charlie Rangel’s seat.
“I would like to make it clear that I have no intention of running for Congress in the 13th District, either now or in the future,” Mr. Paterson said in a statement issued this morning to address recent speculation.
“I’m here to acknowledge that we came short two percent, I want to congratulate Congressman Charles B. Rangel for his victory and tell him that I look forward to working with him as we move forward,” State Senator Adriano Espaillat announced at a sunny press conference in Inwood this afternoon.
“Back in 1996 when I first got into politics, I defeated a 16-year incumbent and I ran against the political establishment,” he continued. “I did so again this year, everyone from Nancy Pelosi on down supported the incumbent, so I’m very proud to have run a very strong race.”
“I’m talking about real jobs that are available today,” Clyde Williams said as we talked over brunch in Harlem this morning (he wanted otmeal but settled for the scrambled egg plate). “Studies show that if all the jobs available were filled, the unemployment rate would be under 7%”
Mr. Williams was explaining his next policy push in his congressional campaign as he works to unseat veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel. He argued that the federal government should be doing much more to retrain workers for targeted industries and that Mr. Rangel, currently in office, has not been delivering.
Congressman Charlie Rangel didn’t want to discuss who will succeed him in the House of Representatives.
“Is this an obituary?” he asked during a sometimes combative phone interview on Monday afternoon, which the longtime lawmaker described as a “rough one.”
“I’m 81-years-old, you want me to discuss what happens in three years? At the end of this year plus two. Would that make sense at all?” he asked.
Rather than deciding whom to anoint as heir, the outspokenly liberal octogenarian is facing what could be the closest campaign of his more than forty year career, while simultaneously coping with fading health and the waning power of the political empire he built in Harlem.
Former DNC political director Clyde Williams faced two challenges to the 6,000 petition signatures he obtained to get on the ballot in the congressional race for Upper Manhattan’s 13th district that he blamed on “associates” of the incumbent, Charlie Rangel. Those objections have expired and Mr. Williams said he’s going to be on the ballot without issue.
“Thousands of residents who signed my petitions participated in the electoral process and now their voices will be heard. I will be on the ballot on June 26,” Mr. Williams told The Politicker. “We now enter a new phase of the race and I look forward to continuing to engage voters and share ideas for the future of this community.”
Charlie In Charge
Congressman Charlie Rangel appeared on former Governor David Paterson’s show today to discuss his re-election bid and his health following two months where he was in and out of the hospital.
“I’m charged up, I’m ready to go,” Mr. Rangel said when asked about his health. “I’m pretty excited about how far the president has gone with what he’s got to work with.”
Mr. Rangel went on to explain he finds the Republican presidential candidates “frightening” because they were able to “get as far as they’ve gotten” with “so little talent.”
“I was a little worried about the congressman until he started attacking the Republican candidates for president, then I figured out his health was fine,” joked Mr. Paterson, a longtime friend and ally of the congressman.
On Monday, the five Democrats vying to represent the 13th District submitted petitions to get on the ballot. Today, objectors filed challenges to some of those petitions and former DNC head Clyde Williams accused the incumbent, Charlie Rangel, of “trying to silence the voices of change.”
“Last night, I learned that associates of Charlie Rangel intend to try to block my access to the ballot,” Mr. Williams wrote on his Facebook page. “Some might say a petition challenge is the sincerest form of flattery. But in fact what my opponents are challenging is the right of the people to be heard – trying to silence the voices of change. I will fight this challenge because I – like so many District residents – share a the desire to change our fortunes and seize our future for the better.”
Bronx State Senator Gustavo Rivera gave his endorsement to fellow State Senator Adriano Espaillat in his race against veteran congressman Charlie Rangel. The endorsement is significant because Mr. Rivera’s home base in the Bronx is new territory for Mr. Espaillat, who currently represents Upper Manhattan and Riverdale.
“As a fellow senator, I have watched Adriano successfully fight for working families and immigrants,” Mr. Rivera said in a statement. “I am proud to endorse Adriano for Congress because he will bring the same passion and energy to Congress and deliver the change we need in Washington D.C. I look forward to campaigning for Adriano, particularly in the Bronx, to get him elected as our next Congressman.”
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta is endorsing Adriano Espaillat in the race for the 13th congressional district. In a statement announcing his endorsement, Mr. de la Renta, who is from the Dominican Republic, called on Democrats and Latinos in particular to back Mr. Espaillat in his quest to become the first congressman of Dominican descent.
“I am proud to endorse Adriano Espaillat for Congress and I call on all Democrats, particularly the Latino and Dominican communities, to join me in rallying behind Adriano’s historic run to change the political landscape of this country,” Mr. de la Renta said. “Our communities are at a crossroads and we need leadership that can help us meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Senator Adriano Espaillat’s record clearly indicates that he will bring bold, new ideas to move our communities forward. I am fully committed to add my voice to help elect Adriano to Congress.”
Here and Gone
Sunday night, Ruben Dario Vargas, a community activist who has run multiple unsuccessful campaigns for public office, announced he’d be throwing his hat into the race for Congressman Charlie Rangel’s seat and would be launching his campaign today at noon. However, Mr. Vargas’ campaign ended almost as quickly as it began. At the event that was supposed to be the start of his campaign, Mr. Vargas instead announced he will be dropping out of the race he was in for less than 24 hours and giving his endorsement to another candidate, State Senator Adriano Espaillat.