Ruben Dario Vargas, a self-described “Northern Manhattan community activist” who has run multiple unsuccessful campaigns for public office, is throwing his hat into the crowded campaign for the 13th congressional district, where Charlie Rangel is running for re-election. Based on his past performance running for the seat, Mr. Vargas is unlikely to be a major threat in the race, but his entry will strip State Senator Adriano Espaillat of his status as the only Latino candidate in a district with a majority Latino population.
As Congressman Charles Rangel made his first public appearance after being sidelined by health problems for more than two months, his longtime ally Assemblyman Keith Wright stood in the background. As Mr. Rangel prepares to face a serious threat to his more than forty year congressional career in the form of four primary challengers, rumors have run rampant Mr. Rangel is merely campaigning for election in order to anoint a chosen heir, namely, Mr. Wright. Both Mr. Wright and Mr. Rangel dismissed this rumor at the congressman’s press conference yesterday.
According to one of his aides, Congressman Charlie Rangel will make his first public appearance in about two months on Tuesday. Mr. Rangel has been in and out of the hospital two times and out of the public eye since February 9 with what his aides and allies have described as a serious back injury. Mr. Rangel’s appearance will kick off a week of events for the congressman.
“We’re rolling all next week, it’s going to be a big week for us,” Socrates Solano told The Politicker.
For almost two months, Charlie Rangel has been dealing with what his staff describes as a back injury that has led to multiple hospitalizations and his longest absence from Congress in over a decade. Due to his health problems, he also hasn’t been seen in his district even as he’s facing several challengers in his latest re-election bid. At a candidates forum for that race hosted by the Barack Obama Democratic Club last night, Mr. Rangel’s longtime friend and ally, Councilwoman Inez Dickens, spoke on the congressman’s behalf and told The Politicker he’s back home and out of the hospital.
Mr. Rangel, who will turn 82-years-old next month, has a Midtown fundraiser planned for next Wednesday, but Ms. Dickens said, despite her advice to remain home and rest, we might see him out in public again sooner than that.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quietly met in New York City last weekend with Mark Murphy, a Democrat likely to challenge New York City’s only Republican congressman in next year’s elections, according to a source.
Murphy is an aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and is looking to run against freshman Rep. Michael Grimm. So far, Grimm has more than $400,000 on hand in his campaign account, making him a formidable target to unseat.
Grimm is a former FBI agent and military veteran who ran an insurgent campaign, relying on a mix of support from Tea Party activists and high-profile endorsements from Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin. After a contentious primary, Grimm went on to knock off freshman Rep. Mike McMahon in 2010.