Last night, Congressman Charlie Rangel and his challengers spoke at the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club in the Bronx, where, after making their pitches, the club voted 54-13 to endorse State Senator Adriano Espaillat for the seat. While the result wasn’t earth-shattering, it was notable that Mr. Rangel attended at all — he has not been known to attend contested club endorsement meetings in the past.
While the Benjamin Franklin club is fairly influential, Mr. Rangel has recently rolled out his own set of big-name endorsements, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn and former Mayor Ed Koch. Former Mayor David Dinkins is also expected to back Mr. Rangel.
“He has fought for his country, fought for his city and fought for residents of his district,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement released earlier this morning. “We need to keep him in office and fighting for us – so let’s get behind Charlie!”
Mr. Bloomberg, along with Ms. Quinn and likely mayoral candidates Comptroller John Liu and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, are attending Mr. Rangel’s birthday fundraiser later next month as well. They will be joined by almost every single Democratic Congressional Member in New York City.
The race, which many feel has become an endorsement war between Mr. Espaillat and Mr. Rangel, also features Clyde Williams, Joyce Johnson and Craig Schley, all of whom are seeking to make this year Mr. Rangel’s last term in office.
Mr. Rangel can sometimes be dismissive of his rivals. At one point last night, he pointed his cane at Mr. Schley and said, “I would say ‘good luck,’ but it sounds so hypocritical.”