Bill Clinton to Back Rangel's Final Campaign

Image: Bill Clinton to Back Rangel's Final Campaign

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 07:14 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Former President Bill Clinton is expected to endorse Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, 83, who is running for a career-closing 23rd term, the New York Post reported.

Rangel has represented Harlem, a historically African-American neighborhood in upper Manhattan, since he ousted Adam Clayton Powell. The district, now redrawn, includes Hispanic areas of the Bronx where Rangel's main opponent, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, has his power base.

Bill and Hillary Clinton have strong ties with Rangel. The congressman defended Bill Clinton when the House impeached him in 1998. In 2000, he strongly encouraged Hillary Clinton to run for senator in New York. The former president set up an office in Harlem when he left office. When Rangel came under fire over ethics charges in the House, Bill Clinton stood by the veteran lawmaker in his 2010 re-election campaign.

Rangel, who has a rocky relationship with President Barack Obama, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2008.

He also had a falling out with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. The congressman endorsed a de Blasio opponent, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary, according to Politico. The mayor supervised Rangel's 1994 re-election campaign, Politico said.

The Rangel campaign is anticipating Bill Clinton's active support, including lending his voice to automated telephone calls.

The former president described Rangel in his autobiography as "a unique public servant whose leadership was critical to many of my administration's successes."

Espaillat is backed by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Ruben Diaz, Jr., the Bronx borough president. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is backing Rangel, the Post reported.

"I'm loyal to Charlie Rangel. He's done a good job – and seniority counts in Congress," Brewer said.

Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic. New York City Latino political power is transitioning from the established Puerto Rican community — a declining majority among Hispanics — to the growing Dominican population. Mexicans in the city have become demographically though not yet politically significant, according to the North American Congress on Latin America newsletter
.
Also running in the June 24 Democratic primary is the Rev. Michael Walrond.

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