Yesterday evening, socially conservative Democratic mayoral candidate Rev. Erick Salgado’s campaign sent out a press release announcing a breakfast in East Harlem this morning featuring “community leaders rallying support for Erick Salgado,” including Congressman Charlie Rangel. The event seemed an odd choice for the staunchly liberal veteran congressman and when we called his office to see whether he would indeed be attending they insisted he hadn’t heard of Mr. Salgado and that the breakfast wasn’t on his schedule. In spite of this, Mr. Salgado’s campaign insisted Mr. Rangel would actually be at their breakfast. The congressman called Politicker this morning to set the record straight and, according to him, it seems both his office and the Salgado campaign were partially correct.
“Edwin [Marcial], who happens to be–I understand now–the campaign manager of this Salgado, is an old El Barrio friend of mine. He came to see me a couple weeks ago and he wanted to have coffee with me and I don’t know how to say ‘no’ to an old-timer and I said, ‘I’d be glad to,'” Mr. Rangel explained. “I was surprised to see that there was a flier talking about this fellow Salgado and that Reverend Senator Díaz and I was going to be there and it went on talking about him. I called Marcial, I told him that I wasn’t thinking about meeting any candidate. I’ve never heard Erick Salgado and I would not be able to attend any breakfast in support of him.”
Nevertheless, Mr. Rangel said he would stop by as a courtesy to Mr. Marcial and not in support of Mr. Salgado.
“He understood that and I told him that I would drop by–and not sit down–and say hello to him,” said Mr. Rangel of his conversation with Mr. Marcial.
Though he said he planned to visit the breakfast, Mr. Rangel stressed his appearance was not an endorsement of the conservative mayoral candidate.
“If anyone wants to explain why I’m there, I’m only there because Edwin Marcial is a good community guy. … So I’ll be stopping there, but there won’t be any politics as far as I’m concerned. I just feel sorry for Edwin or whomever as he’s a one-man operation. … I don’t know anyone who knows Erick Salgado or has heard of Erick Salgado.”