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Rangel Announces Congress Reelection Bid

By Jill Colvin | March 21, 2012 9:07am
Rep. Charlie Rangel announced he will run again for Congress.
Rep. Charlie Rangel announced he will run again for Congress.
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DNAinfo/Olivia Scheck

MANHATTAN — Call it one last hurrah.

Rep. Charlie Rangel is throwing his hat into the race for a final term as a Congressman representing New York.

Rangel officially announced his intention to run in a statement issued late Tuesday, kicking off what many are expecting to be a bruising, racially-charged primary battle with State. Sen. Adriano Espaillat for Upper Manhattan’s newly re-drawn Congressional district, which has a majority Hispanic population for the first time.

“I am formally announcing, again, and after talking with my county leaders, political and community leaders, that I will seek reelection in the new 13th congressional district,” Rangel wrote in the statement, which pointed to his legislative accomplishments over the past 40 years.

State Senator Adriano Espaillat is also expected to run.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat is also expected to run.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

“Over the years I have been privileged to receive the broad-based support of so many friends and neighbors in our Manhattan congressional district. I am proud of the resources that I have been able to bring to Harlem and our community,” he wrote.

He stressed his “experience and influence” in the chamber as well as his position as Chairman Emeritus of the powerful Ways and Means Committee — a post he fails to mention he lost after being censured because of an ethics scandal.

Espaillat began formal petitioning Tuesday but has not yet made a final decision about whether or not to run, a spokesman said.

Upper Manhattan’s congressional lines have recently changed to reflect changes in the 2010 census count. Under the reconfiguration, the district has changed names, transforming from the 15th district into the 13th District. Its borders have also shifted north, losing part of the Upper West Side and gaining more of the Bronx.

The new district is 55 percent Hispanic, 12 percent white and 27 percent black — a major shift from the old district, which was 46 percent Latino, 26 percent black and 21 percent white, the latest census data show.

Before the lines were secure, Espaillat and other Dominican groups had been pushing for a new, majority Latino district outside of Harlem. Increasing the Latino population in Rangel's district, he warned, would pit blacks against Latinos — a recipe for disaster.

"[It's] basically setting the groundwork for 20 years of nuclear political war," he said.

Some had speculated that Rangel might choose not to seek reelection, following a back injury that sent him to the hospital for weeks.

Other challengers in the race include Vince Morgan and Joyce Johnson.