Long-time liberal lion Charlie Rangel could be facing the end of his decades in Washington following a back injury that has sidelined him for more than two months.
The 81-year-old New York City congressman is facing his toughest primary in years and his injury has made campaigning difficult, The Hill
Already Rangel, one of the most assiduous voters in Washington, has missed 10 weeks of votes and has only held two public events in his Harlem constituency since February. In 42 years in the House, he has missed only 9 percent of votes, but in the past two months, that has risen to more than 73 percent.
Rangel, who is known for his dapper outfits and energy, is trying to maintain an image that he can still be effective. He told the Wall Street Journal, “I don’t want to go back [to Washington] with no damn cane unless I have to.” He is due to return to Capitol Hill next week.
The Hill said his injury and lack of visibility has hit him hard where it hurts – in campaign cash and since the start of the year his fundraising has trailed that of primary rival Clyde Williams, the former political director for the Democratic National Committee. The June 26 primary is confused by a third candidate, New York State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who is expected to siphon off much of the district’s Hispanic vote.
Rangel also has to fight off a perception of corruption after being found guilty of 11 ethics violations, censured by the House and stripped of his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee in 2010.
In 20 general elections, Rangel has always won at least 80 percent of the vote in his staunchly Democratic seat. He was unopposed in Congressional elections in 2004.
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