Clyde Williams, a candidate for Congress in 2012, said today he will run for Congressman Charles Rangel’s seat once more, this time in an increasingly crowded open race.
Mr. Williams, a former Democratic National Committee official, only won about 10 percent of the vote against Mr .Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat, but proved himself to be a strong fundraiser and boasts ties to national Democrats.
“Since announcing that he was exploring a run … Clyde has traveled the district and spoken to hundreds of voters about the issues facing our community,” said Ty Steinhauser, a spokesman for Mr. Williams, in a statement. “The one thing that he’s heard everywhere is that we need new ideas and new leadership. Clyde is the only candidate ready to hit the ground running in Washington, D.C. on day one, and he is ready to share his vision for the future with voters over the next 8 months.”
Mr. Rangel, 85, has said he will retire when his term ends at the end of 2016. Though Mr. Rangel has backed away from retirement announcements before, most political observers in the upper Manhattan and Bronx-based 13th Congressional District anticipate that Mr. Rangel, who was first elected in 1970, will step aside.
His departure from the heavily Democratic district, traditionally a seat of African-American political power, is expected to lead to a hotly-contested primary to replace him. Mr. Williams joins several heavyweights–Assemblyman Keith Wright, State Senator Bill Perkins, and former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV–and a couple of political newcomers–faith leader Suzan Johnson Cook and stay-at-home dad Mike Gallagher–in the race. The race for the district, now majority Latino, is also expected to include Mr. Espaillat, a Dominican-American lawmaker.
Mr. Williams reached out to Mr. Rangel last year about securing his endorsement. Mr. Rangel has not endorsed or cultivated a successor, though Mr. Wright is rapidly scooping up endorsements from the Harlem political establishment. Mr. Wright’s top adviser, Charlie King, is also close to Mr. Rangel and helped guide him to re-election last year.
The primary will be held next June.