NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday threw his support to U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) in the Democratic primary for New York’s 13th Congressional District, an endorsement that came with less than 48 hours to go before the polls open.
Rangel, 84, is running for his 23rd term in the House of Representatives in a highly contested race. His opponents include state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who would be the first Dominican-born member of Congress if he wins Tuesday’s primary and the general election in November, as well as Harlem minister Rev. Michael Walrond Jr.
In endorsing Rangel, Cuomo said his “experience, seniority, and steadfast commitment to improving the lives of New Yorkers continue to make him a critical voice in standing up to the Tea Party extremism that is threatening to take over Washington.”
Rangel has also gained endorsements from Sens. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) as well as former President Bill Clinton.
Espaillat has been endorsed by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Campaign Manager Jesse Compoamor pointed to those endorsements and others in responding to the Cuomo announcement, saying, “Adriano Espaillat was 1,000 votes away from unseating Congressman Rangel in 2012 as an insurgent with no political support. Two years later, the call for change is even louder.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who once managed a Rangel campaign, has stayed out making any endorsements in the race, and chided Rangel for referencing Espaillat’s ethnic background and saying that he was running because the district had become increasingly Hispanic.
A NY1/Siena College poll released Thursday put Rangel up 13 points over Espaillat. The margin of error was 3.7 percentage points.