Former Bronx Borough President and 2005 mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer got behind State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s congressional campaign earlier today, giving Mr. Espaillat an important feather in his cap as he seeks to unseat veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel in a district that’s been reconfigured to contain a significant slice of the Bronx.
“I don’t make any political decisions lightly, but looking at Adriano Espaillat’s record, his promise for the future, the choice was clear,” Mr. Ferrer said when asked if he had any reservations endorsing a challenger against a longtime incumbent.
It’s rare for candidates running against sitting Congressional Members to openly pick up significant political endorsements, which is one of the reasons Mr. Ferrer’s announcement today is notable, especially as it comes from the Bronx, a borough Mr. Rangel has never represented in his long career. Although the titular heads of Bronx politics have endorsed Mr. Rangel, Mr. Espaillat has a small swath of elected officials in his corner, including State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblyman Nelson Castro and various district leaders.
Additionally, Mr. Ferrer is Puerto Rican, a constituency that could play a decisive role in this election, a fact Mr. Rangel’s campaign has highlighted by touting its support from Puerto Rican elected officials and his relationship with the island’s representative in Washington. Mr. Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic, and, if elected, he would be the country’s first Dominican-American Congressman.
Watch the endorsement press conference below: