Veteran New York Rep. Charles Rangel has announced he's planning to seek reelection next year, shrugging off suggestions that at 83 he's too old to represent his constituents.
“I feel so good it scares the hell out of me
,” said Rangel, a Democrat and the third-longest serving legislator in the House, while adding that he's still "fired up" about running for his 23rd term after more than four decades in Congress.
In an op-ed column
for New York's Daily News, he wrote, "I have heard the skeptics and the chattering classes wondering whether I remain committed to representing our congressional district.
"After reflection and speaking with constituents I proudly represent, I am all the more fired up about fighting to advance the unfinished business under the most exciting presidency in my lifetime."
Although he was hospitalized for a back injury last year, Rangel claims he's fighting fit again.
“Right now I find myself on the dance floor and doing things that I haven’t done in a long time,” he said.
Rangel said one reason he wants another term is to continue battling Republicans, "who are playing political games to defeat and discredit" President Barack Obama.
Rangel was reelected last year, despite a 2010 House ethics censure for underpaying the IRS for 17 years, which Obama once described as "very troubling." As a result he was forced to give up his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
"I may not be a perfect human being, but I believe I am best equipped — by my experience, my knowledge of Washington, my seniority, my passion for serving the people of our district — to help the president achieve his agenda over the next two years," Rangel wrote.
Rangel, who first won his Harlem seat in 1970, is expected to face a primary challenge
from state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, whom he beat in a tough primary race last year. Espaillat could benefit from changing demographics in the redrawn district, according to the Daily News.
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