This morning The New York Post reported that Bill Clinton had decided to stay neutral in Charlie Rangel’s congressional race, after recording a robo-call for the longtime Harlem pol when he was facing a tight re-election in 2010.
This afternoon, Clyde Williams, who served in the Clinton administration, was later a domestic policy adviser to the Clinton Foundation and went on to work for the Democratic National Committee under Barack Obama, sent out a statement touting his own relationship to the former president and thanking him for staying out of the race.
“It was a great honor to work with President Clinton in his Administration and to serve as his domestic policy advisor at his Foundation in Harlem. I also know he and Charlie Rangel have been friends for decades, and so I appreciate and respect his decision to remain neutral in this race. Should I be blessed with the opportunity to be the Democratic nominee, I look forward to having President Clinton’s support. In the meantime, I will continue to make the case that it is time to move Uptown forward and generate new opportunity for all the people of New York’s 13th District.”
It is interesting the way that endorsements have been playing out in this race. Typically, elected officials past and present will pay deference to incumbency and seniority and line up en masse behind the elected official, shunning his challengers. Witness 2010, when Mr. Rangel was at his most scandal-scarred but still had big guns come out for him–Mr. Clinton, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Chuck Schumer, etc. By comparison, I can’t recall a single elected coming out for any of his opponents.
This time around support has been far more mixed. Assemblymen Danny O’Donnell and Robert Rodriguez and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz have come out for Mr. Rangel, but former Bronx BP’s Adolfo Carrion and Freddy Ferrer are supporting Adriano Espaillat, as are a host of mostly Dominican officials in the Bronx.