New York Congressman Charlie Rangel is in the first tough primary race he has ever experienced. The pressure he feels has sent him into unexplored campaign territory, resulting in his first rap song, one where he calls himself the “original gangsta.”
First elected in 1971, Rangel has survived several re-districtings, but his district is trending Hispanic. For the first time, he faces what may be a tough opponent in state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.
Rangel has been seen clumsily dancing at campaign events to appear “hip,” and now his campaign is driving a truck through the district blaring a rap song, yelling out, “If you go and vote, you go and vote for the Rangel.”
As The Hill reports:
The 3-minute-long rap features autobiographical details–one lyric explains that “at 16 he worked a lotta low-paying jobs so he knows what [it] means just to be poor”–and anthemic endorsements, like the lyric that calls him “a stand-up guy … he’s super fly, if you Democrat, that’s the guy” and “the [Original Gangster] next to my pop.”
A recent poll does show Rangel still leading by double digits, but this is a primary season with many surprises, and now Hispanics have a slight majority in Rangel’s district over the African Americans he always counted on to re-elect him.
Rangel has also had a slew of legal and ethics problems over the last few years.
In 2010, the House charged Rangel with a series of ethics violations. A few years before that, he made news when it was discovered that he was a tax cheat. His cheating was so blatant that even the left-wing Village Voice called him a “legendary tax cheat.”
In fact, because of his troubles, The New York Times surprised everyone by endorsing Rangel’s challenger, Adriano Espaillat.
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