Embattled Rep. Charles Rangel prevailed in a crowded Democratic primary Tuesday, with voters in his New York City district signaling they are willing to stand by the 40-year House veteran despite more than a dozen ethics charges pending against him.
Rangel beat back five challengers including Adam Clayton Powell IV, a state assemblyman and son of the legendary Harlem figure Rangel defeated in 1970. Rangel is all but guaranteed re-election in November in this heavily Democratic district.
With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Rangel had 52 percent to 24 percent for Powell, his nearest competitor.
“I’m going back to Washington with such pride,” Rangel told supporters at a gathering in Harlem as returns came in and it appeared he was on his way to winning. “This isn’t a win for Charlie Rangel. This is our community’s win.”
It was the first time Rangel, 80, has faced voters since a House ethics panel charged him with 13 violations last summer. Rangel has vigorously fought the charges despite pleas from some Democrats, including President Barack Obama, that he consider stepping aside.
Rangel faces allegations that include using House stationery to solicit money for a New York college center named after him; failing to disclose at least $600,000 in assets and income in a series of inaccurate reports to Congress; using a rent-subsidized New York residential use apartment for a campaign office; and failing to report and pay taxes on rental income from a beach villa in the Dominican Republic.
Rangel’s district includes Harlem, long the political and cultural hub of New York’s black community. But the area has grown younger and more diverse in recent years.
The 48-year-old Powell, who was born in Puerto Rico and speaks fluent Spanish, had hoped to take advantage of the district’s changing demographics. But he was bedeviled by problems of his own, including a thin legislative record and sluggish fundraising.