Rangel Declares Victory

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rep. Charlie Rangel declares victory for his 23rd term (Brigid Bergin/WNYC)

With 100 percent of the returns in, Rep. Charles Rangel is ahead of State Sen. Adriano Espaillat 47.4 percent to 43.6 percent in a primary election to secure the Democratic nomination for the 13th congressional district. The district includes upper Manhattan and parts of the Bronx.

"The people have won," Rangel said to his supporters in a speech at an affordable housing development in East Harlem. The crowd chanted, "Charlie, Charlie." But Rangel had taken the unusual step of coming down to speak to the crowd before the votes had been tallied, shouting questions to the crowd about how many votes had come in, and from where. 

For Espaillat, the race didn't end. Though he was losing by a yawning gap of more than 2,000 votes, Espaillat called the race "too close to call." Rangel offered no comfort, weakly congratulating Espaillat, who gathered with supporters on an Inwood street, saying he's done "the best with what he had to work with."

Espaillat ultimately conceded in a written statement on Thursday. He also announced he plans to seek re-election to his state senate office.

After a bitterly-fought campaign that divided the city’s Democratic establishment and devolved into attacks over the candidate’s respective age and ethnicity, Rangel looked like he had outpaced his 2012 margin of victory, though the Associated Press did not immediately call the race.

That year, Rangel narrowly beat Espaillat by 1,086 in another off-season June primary with very low turnout. While Espaillat conceded defeat that night, the gap between the candidates shrunk dramatically by the next morning as more votes were tabulated. It ultimately took two weeks for the results to be finalized.

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) prepares to vote in the Democratic Primary for the 13th congressional district of New York on June 24, 2014 in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) prepares to vote in the Democratic Primary for the 13th congressional district of New York on June 24, 2014 in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
The rematch between Rangel and Espaillat did not lack for theatrics. In one debate, Rangel used his opening statement to make a fake cell phone call where he was able to rip into his opponents without interruption in a stunt that left the other candidates stunned and the audience entertained. Espaillat’s main line of attack was that Rangel had been in office too long and that the district needed a change.

While Rangel accused the senator of being a lackluster state lawmaker with not enough of a record to be criticized, Rangel also seized on Espaillat’s history-making potential as the first Dominican American in Congress saying in a televised debate that Espaillat wanted, “to be the Jackie Robinson of the Dominicans in Congress,” then adding, “he’s no Jackie Robinson.”

Rangel is credited with helping found and name the Congressional Black caucus, expanding the earned income tax credit program for people with low income, and supporting the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, intended to spur economic development in the neighborhood.  

The congressman’s conduct came under scrutiny starting in 2008 after he was accused of improperly using four rent stabilized apartments in Harlem for his home and office. Charges continued to mount over tax law and ethics violations. In December 2012, Rangel was formally censured by the House.

Espaillat was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1996 and served there for 14 years. He was elected to the New York State Senate in 2010, after then incumbent Eric Schneiderman decided to run for Attorney General.

A third candidate on the ballot, Michael Walrond, the pastor at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, received about 8 percent of the vote. While he consistently polled in the single digits, Walrond had a built-in base from the 9,000 parishioners at his church, of which 70 percent live in the district, according to his campaign. 

A first-time candidate, Walrond has worked in the community for 10 years, though he only moved to the district in January. Walrond often said he was running to offer voters a real alternative to career politicians.

Updated Thursday 6/26/2014 at 3:10pm with Espaillat's concession.


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Comments [6]

Dr. Dana from Harlem

Its time for new blood in the "House" and a shake up in Washington, D.C. Change begins at the local level. I would bet money that Rangel wont run again. He will likely announce that he is retiring towrds the end of his term rather than endure the humiliation of defeat. Its time for the old horse to be put out to pasture. Stick a fork in him..He is overdone!

Anyone worth their "salt" and that really cares about the constituency will start to campaign for the next election NOW.. You can bet that Rangel is already grooming his replacement..we dont need more of the same.

Jun. 25 2014 03:05 PM
Harlem Resident from Harlem

Espaillant was a sound bite with no substance. He's done nothing for homeowners and has a really bad record when it comes to small business. When asked about homeland security or any other federal funding question he didn't answer. This is Charlie Rangel's last hurrah and let's hope he shakes up his staff and gets a staff who is more responsive and actually answers the phone, responds to constituent needs. This does not happen in Harlem in any of the elected offices.

Also, the Rev Walrond is a shrill from the most disgusting Al Sharpton. Anyone who has Al Sharptons support a voter should run from.

I urge all constituents to call Rangel's office and demand service.

Jun. 25 2014 11:10 AM

I feel sorry for those of you who voted against Rangel, but for the rest of you, you get what you deserve.

Jun. 25 2014 10:46 AM
Tim W. Brown from Kingsbridge

How unfortunate for us who live in the Bronx and were re-districted a couple of years ago into Rangel's district. His opponent, Adriano Espaillat, a Dominican, is much more representative of the 13th than Rangel. To my knowledge, Rangel made exactly one campaign stop in the Bronx, at a barber shop in the Marble Hill neighborhood, which, technically, is part of Manhattan with a Manhattan ZIP code. (Marble Hill was separated from the island of Manhattan when the channel between the Hudson and Harlem Rivers was dug.) Rangel couldn't even be bothered to attend a debate with Espaillat and Michael Waldron hosted by BronxTalk on local public access TV. Nowadays, Rangel seems more interested in playacting as a Congressman than in actually legislating. Maybe next time, with luck, Rangel will finally be put out to pasture, so he can enjoy his vacation home on which he avoided taxes for many years, the reason why in 2010 he was censured by Congress and forced to resign his Ways and Means chairmanship.

Jun. 25 2014 10:29 AM

Rangel is a crook and a bum. He let the killers of a Police Officer walk! He s a disgrace to have in the House of Representatives.

Jun. 25 2014 09:44 AM
Myra Alperson from Washington Heights

I live in Washington Heights and work in Inwood. There was NO presence of Rangel in either neighborhood. I never saw him, didn't see posters until days before the primary, and feel as though he doesn't acknowledge the importance of uptown Manhattan.

I DID get tons of e-mails, robocalls and several very disgusting anti-Espaillat mailngs. Even though I'm not thrilled with Espaillat, he never took the low road back and I voted for him.

Myra Alperson

Jun. 25 2014 06:39 AM

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