Assembly Member Keith Wright brought his campaign for the Congressional seat held by Charles Rangel to a close this afternoon, conceding defeat to Adriano Espaillat in a Harlem press conference. Joined by about 20 elected officials, including Rangel, and two of the other candidates in the race, Wright and Espaillat made a public display of unity standing in front of Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem as Wright acknowledged that Espaillat’s 1,200 vote lead in the preliminary vote totals would hold through counting of absentee and affidavit ballots and the final canvassing of poll site voting machines.
Rangel, who strongly supported longtime ally Wright in the race, anchored the joint appearance with kind words for both men. Other elected officials attending included Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Public Advocate Tish James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and state and city legislators from the Bronx and Manhattan.
13th Congressional District candidate Keith Wright condemned reported activity of a PAC supporting rival candidate Adriano Espaillat which has been characterized as voter suppression. Speaking as he accompanied Congressman Charles Rangel to vote today, Wright described those actions as having “brought up all of the ghosts of the civil rights movement … all of the ghosts of Jim Crowism … all of the ghosts of poll taxes” and declared that such tactics have “no place at all in any political activities here in this community.” Rangel expressed surprise that “they are … so stupid to actually put it in writing,” describing such actions as “shameful.”
“I couldn’t find my name. But I’m so glad I did find his name” said Congressman Charles Rangel after voting in his first congressional election in more than 45 years in which he was not a candidate. The “his” was Assembly Member Keith Wright, a longtime Rangel ally whom Rangel has endorsed as 13th Congressional District Democrats select a nominee to replace Rangel.
Rangel arrived at Harlem’s P.S. 175 to vote accompanied by his wife Alma and Wright. Appearing a few minutes ahead of schedule, Rangel spoke with the press both before and after voting, expressing support for Wright, but clearly not in a rush to leave office or the spotlight. Rangel loves the camera and it loves him right back, as shown in the two press Q&A’s Rangel did this morning, one as he arrived and a second after voting.
Many of the questions focused on Rangel’s emotions as a successor is selected and on his post-Congress plans, but he and Wright also addressed allegations that supporters of rival Adriano Espaillat have sought to suppress voting by African American voters in the District.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat led a group of supporters up Broadway Saturday afternoon, looking for attention and votes ahead of Tuesday’s 13th Congressional District primary. The Espaillat caravan included about 50-75 walkers and 20-25 cars, all led by the flag-bedecked Espaillat campaign bus. The caravan began with a public endorsement of Espaillat by State Senator Bill Perkins who, together with Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine, joined Espaillat for the walk uptown.
The race to succeed Charles Rangel has become increasingly racially driven in the past several days, with numerous allegations of impropriety. In a brief pre-walk Q&A with reporters Perkins dismissed allegations by Assembly Member Keith Wright that Espaillat and his supporters are trying to suppress African American voter participation in the Tuesday election. Espaillat stood by silently as Perkins spoke, only offering that he’s asked the Department of Justice to monitor the election in order to “make sure that everybody has access to vote unimpeded.”
Espaillat’s reception was good, but not overwhelming, as he walked up Broadway from 135th. The very modest reaction in the first 10-15 blocks increased as he passed through the northern stretch of Harlem and into the heavily Dominican Washington Heights. Cheers and shouts rang out further uptown, with some downtown drivers rolling down their windows to shake hands with the uptown traveling candidate. There were no signs or displays of support for any of the many other candidates in this election. The only contrary expression (at least as far as a non-Spanish speaking reporter could discern) was a small group of men near 175th Street chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
Seven candidates for the 13th congressional district seat currently held by Charles Rangel met for a candidate forum Sunday. Hosted by the Allianza Dominicana Cultural Center, the forum featured Adam Clayton Powell IV, Michael Gallagher, Assembly member Keith Wright, Suzan Johnson Cook, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Clyde Williams and Assembly member Guillermo Linares.
A congressional campaign is now underway, but it’s not the 11th Congressional District race to succeed Michael Grimm. It’s the 2016 13th Congressional District race to succeed Rep. Charles B. Rangel. Rangel, re-elected to a 23rd term in 2014, has said that he will not run again.
Adam Clayton Powell IV, son of the legendary congressman defeated in 1970 by Charles Rangel, kicked-off his campaign with an East Harlem fundraiser this evening. Powell is a former state assembly and city council member who has run against Rangel twice. He supported Rangel in 2012 and 2014 against strong challenges each time from NY State Senator Adriano Espaillat, however.
I spoke with Powell tonight, with our conversation covering why he’s begun campaigning so early, whether he’s asked for Rangel’s endorsement, what voters are looking for, the large field of prospective candidates and how his career ups and downs have affected him.
Update – The Competition:
Among the large group of possible competitors for the seat is New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who ran and lost to Rangel in 2012 and 2014. The Dominican-born Espaillat represents much of Upper Manhattan and was widely regarded as likely to win in 2014. Powell had some non-encouraging comments about a third Espaillat candidacy. Although he described Espaillat as “a great guy”, Powell noted that Espaillat has lost twice in seeking the seat and offered (without any apparent irony) that “I don’t think he wants to go out with three strikes.” He also suggested that Espaillat “ought to be planning his retirement rather than Charlie Rangel’s retirement.” Powell spoke in response to a question from Will Bredderman of the NY Observer.
As he greeted voters and talked with reporters outside P.S. 187 in Hudson Heights Tuesday afternoon, Adriano Espaillat was asked (by Politico’s Alex Isenstadt) about his decision to again run for Congress following his 2012 defeat.
Adriano Espaillat declared the race “too close to call” and refused to concede in a speech to supporters Wednesday night. He left the campaign election night party immediately afterwards, with a spokesperson saying that he would not return or make any other public statement tonight.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat held a press conference in Washington Heights this afternoon, accompanied by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. Speaking just one block from where Congressman Charles Rangel was scheduled to appear shortly thereafter, Espaillat addressed the public polls indicating a significant advantage for Charles Rangel, Board of Elections issues including reported issues in providing spanish language translators and the timeliness and accuracy of Board of Elections operations and the accuracy of public polls.
Update – AP & Projections:
Espaillat voiced dissatisfaction with the AP’s 2012 projection of Rangel winning, saying that it was done far too early. That projection was, of course, correct. Espaillat concluded by saying to an AP reporter that “I hope that you can wait at least until 1:00 in the morning this time around.”
Congressman Charles B. Rangel held court this afternoon, hosting a press conference in Washington Heights. Perhaps coincidentally, State Senator Adriano Espaillat held a press conference 3 blocks away shortly before Rangel arrived.
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, an enthusiastic supporter of Espaillat, held his own mini press conference just a few feet away from Rangel. Here’s what happened when Rangel spotted Rodriguez:
(Update #3) I asked Rodriguez about his confrontation with Rangel, at a campaign stop Monday evening at 116th Street/Lexington Avenue:
Update – The Prequel:
Shortly before Espaillat supporter Ydanis Rodriguez appeared, Espaillat’s campaign manager and a Rodriguez staffer listened to the press conference. Here’s what happened when the campaign manager’s presence was pointed out to Rangel:
Update #2 – Charlie 360:
Rangel gave quite a performance to the press. Surrounded by a large circle of his supporters and press, he spoke first to his supporters and then pivoted to face the press. Cracking himself up repeatedly, Rangel dismissed questions about his opponent but introduced himself to Espaillat’s campaign manager, who was listening to the press conference. Here’s the full press Q&A:
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