Besides the New York Post, there is perhaps no one more gleeful about the House Ethics Commitee’s decision to bring Charlie Rangel to a trial than his Democratic opponents.
“This is another example of how Mr. Rangel has let his ego dictate what is best for his district,” said Vince Morgan, the community banker and former Rangel aide who announceed a challenge to Rangel last year. “People have been sitting on their hands waiting to see what happens with Charlie…Now that the specter of these distractions will hopefully be resolved soon I think people will be more vocal and a little more comfortable with the idea that we should move forward.”
Rangel still has a lot of support in his district and it’s unclear yet how much the spectacle of a public trial will affect him. He has vowed to continue his campaign. For his part, labor activist Jonathan Tasini called on Rangel to step down for the sake of Democrats in Congress, arguing that the GOP will use Rangel as bludgeon against vulnerable Democrats in the upcoming campaign.
“For the good of the Democratic Party, for the good of the people of the 15th district, Charlie Rangel should announce that he is not running for re-election for his seat,” he said. “If he is found guilty, he should resign.”
Tasini will run strong among progressive who mostly reside in the Upper West Side portions of the district.
Lastly, Michael Oliva, a strategist who has been working on the campaign of Joyce Johnson, said he predicted that the daily drumbeat of news would begin to take its toll on the congressman’s popularity.
“You are going to see it on the cover of every newspaper, you are going to see it on the news,” he said. “It inevitably hurts him in the race.”
We have reached out to Adam Clayton Powell IV, who got nearly a third of the vote against Rangel in 1994, but have not heard back.