Octogenarian Congressman Charlie Rangel staved off a vigorous primary challenge from State Sen. Adriano Espaillat last year, but he has yet to gear up his operations for what could be another tough re-election fight. According to his latest filings, Mr. Rangel spent more than he raised and has negative $4,800 cash on hand and $36,000 in debts and obligations.
exiting stage right
GOP State Senator Owen Johnson, who had previously vowed to seek reelection amid rumors that he might not seek reelection, surprisingly confirmed those rumors after submitting petitions to be on the ballot again, Newsday reported this morning. The octogenarian senator was first elected in 1972.
The move will allow Mr. Johnson to select a Republican replacement of his choosing to face off against Democratic county legislator Ricardo Montano.
Retiring Congressman Ed Towns did not submit petitions to be on the ballot last night, closing the door on his ability to anoint an ally to run in his stead, according to one knowledgeable tipster. This sets up a direct head-to-head match between Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron in the June 26th Democratic primary.
talk of the towns
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries had critical words to describe incumbent Congressman Ed Towns when the two were competing against one another, but now that Mr. Towns has bowed out, Mr. Jeffries is paying a healthy respect to his record and is seeking his endorsement.
“I commend him for his 30 years of service and the decision that he’s made at this point to move on, and I wish him well at this next stage of his professional career,” Mr. Jeffries told Errol Louis on Inside City Hall earlier tonight.
Congressman Ed Towns is not seeking reelection, Politico reported in an email tonight, citing “a source familiar with his decision.” This news was subsequently confirmed by the New York Daily News‘ Alison Gendar, who reported that Mr. Towns is making calls to supporters saying he’s not seeking reelection.
Mr. Towns’ reported exit is both surprising and unsurprising. He had no reelection campaign to speak of, but had also recently hired Hank Sheinkopf to handle his communications and was ramping up his fundraising as recently as March.
The Queens Tribune had some fun with Congressman Gary Ackerman this week.
“Gary Ackerman started the Tribune, has been my business partner since the late 70s and a close friend for 50 years, since 1962 – he was much older then; he’s much older now,” Michael Schenkler wrote. “As a result of our relationship, I am able to share with you the truth about the season’s biggest political surprise; Gary’s retirement.”
The real reason for Mr. Ackerman’s bizarrely sudden retirement, according to Mr. Schenkler, was that he was about to take a management position at his beloved New York Mets.
Only hours after Congressman Gary Ackerman indicated he was no longer seeking reelection, possible new candidates have already started showing interest in the Queens district he was previously running in.
In a statement sent out tonight, Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who is the only Asian-American elected official in Albany, made sure to note the new district where Mr. Ackerman was campaigning is plurality Asian and indirectly suggested she would be inclined to run if she received the Democratic establishment’s backing.
“This new congressional district is heavily Asian, and I will be sitting down with our Queens Democratic Organization Chairman, Congressman Joseph Crowley, our community leaders and activists to discuss how the coming months may shape out,” she said, while praising Mr. Ackerman.
Less than two hours after Assemblyman Rory Lancman dropped his Congressional campaign to avoid challenging incumbent Representative Gary Ackerman in the Democratic primary, Mr. Ackerman himself pulled out of the race by releasing the following statement:
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens/L.I.) today announced that he will not seek re-election to the United States Congress.
On the eve of the Federal Circuit Court’s approval of Congressional district lines that were seen to be extraordinarily favorable to Ackerman, and with the primary-free backing of the Democratic Party virtually assured, Ackerman has informed his family, staff, friends and party leaders that he will not seek a 16th term of office.
Over the weekend rumors emerged that Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman would not seek reelection in 2012. In response to these rumors, Mr. Ackerman tweeted, “Republican rumor mill is 100%, Absolutely Wrong. I’m running.” In an interview with Capital New York, he emphatically and repeatedly rejected this speculation as well.
But that’s not enough to convince the National Republican Congressional Committee. The organization sent out a statement this afternoon directly stating Mr. Ackerman will end up retiring.
“The question is not if but when Gary Ackerman is going to retire,” Nathaniel Sillin, the group’s regional press secretary, wrote.