In the 13th congressional district (East Harlem to the northwest Bronx), 82-year-old Charles B. Rangel has earned the right to run for a 22nd term after fending off a tough primary challenge tonight. Despite a 2010 House censure for income tax violations and his subsequent removal as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Rangel still had Governor Andrew Cuomo’s endorsement. It was believed that this powerful African-American politician, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, would suffer from recently redrawn district lines since his district now has a Hispanic majority. The redistricting was expected to benefit his foremost challenger, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who if elected would be first Dominican-American Congressman in U.S. history. Also gunning for Rangel’s seat was Clyde Williams, former domestic policy advisor to President Clinton and national political director for the Democratic National Committee, was endorsed by the New York Times and the New York Daily News.
For a while, it looked like this might finally be the election in which Charlie Rangel’s long, illustrious, and (lately) dubious congressional career would come to an end. The stars seemed to be aligned against the Korean War hero. But numerous ethical violations, an official censure from his congressional colleagues, the stripping of his chairmanship, a seemingly unfavorable redistricting scheme, and a challenge from a popular State Senator were not enough to end Rangel’s ironman streak of primary victories.
In the end, four decades-worth of electoral inertia proved to be too much for Espaillat and Williams, who were trounced by Rangel who garnered a majority of the vote despite two viable challengers, one of which (Espaillat) had raised nearly as much as the disgraced congressman.