Veteran New York congressman Charlie Rangel seems to have held on in Tuesday's Democratic primary. The third-longest serving member of the House has a lead over just about 1800 votes over his top challenger, state senator Adriano Espaillat. Rangel has claimed victory in the primary, although Espaillat has not yet conceded the race.
Rangel, long known as the congressman from Harlem, faces changing demographics in his Manhattan district. His natural black base there has been largely replaced by Hispanics, particularly Dominican Americans like Espaillat. Add to that Rangel's ethics problems and charges of unreported income and unpaid taxes (which forced him to step down as Ways and Means committee chairman in 2010), and it's no surprise Rangel found himself in a fight. In fact, Espaillat nearly beat him in the Democratic primary in 2012, with Rangel escaping by just a thousand votes.
But, vowing to not be taken by surprise, Rangel has campaigned hard and boasts the endorsements of many of the nation’s top Democrats. Former president Bill Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) have lent their names to Rangel’s reelection bid which, if successful, is likely to make him the second-longest-serving current House member, behind Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who also is seeking reelection. Rangel’s campaign has worked to underscore his links to local Hispanic communities, rolling out endorsements from Latino leaders.
“The Dominican people have in Congressman Rangel a big supporter and a big ally,” said Victor Gómez Casanova, a member of the Congress of the Dominican Republic who spoke at the birthday gala.
Last night the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to censure Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY), 333-79. Only two Republicans (Peter King of New York and Don Young of Alaska) voted against the censure resolution, but Democrats were more evenly divided, with 170 supporting the resolution and 77 opposed. Interestingly, the divide among Democrats appears to be related to race.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) has been found guilty on 11 ethics charges, ending a two-year investigation into his personal finances.
A special eight-member panel of the House ethics committee, after deliberating for roughly six hours, found that there was "clear and convincing evidence" that Rangel had violated House ethics on 11 of the 13 charges he faced heading into a rare public ethics trial.
Five days after the House ethics committee charged Rep. Charlie Rangel with possible violations, and Rangel professed to be "looking forward" to fighting the charges in a public trial, the congressman is reportedly trying to do a last minute deal:
A settlement would mean that Rangel must agree that he committed some ethical misconduct. The ethics committee's trial phase was due to start Thursday.