Citing shifting demographics and a scandal-plagued past, some are expecting U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D) to lose a rematch with state Sen. Adriano Espaillat in the June 24 Democratic primary.
Rangel barely won against Espaillat in 2012 “in a 13th Congressional District race that involved disputed election results and a lawsuit.”
The once powerful Democrat Rangel stepped down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee over an ethics scandal involving taxes which also led to his being censured in 2011.
Rangel’s district has been becoming increasingly Hispanic for years and some think this may be the year it reaches critical mass.
“Demographics are destiny, especially in New York,” said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “If the demographics have shifted so dramatically, Charlie Rangel can lose.”
Rangel, 83, is fighting to retain his seat but Espaillat is going right at him, as well as campaigning hard himself. In the end it may come down to turn-out and no one should rule out controversy including lawsuits given the way the last contest ended.
A New York Times/NY1/Siena College poll released May 21 showed Rangel with the support of 41 percent of likely voters, with Espaillat at 32 percent, and Walrond and Garcia far behind. Fifteen percent were undecided. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.
Of those polled, more than two-thirds of black voters supported Rangel — who is black — and 5 percent supported Espaillat, while more than half the Hispanics polled supported Espaillat and 25 percent backed Rangel. That’s in a district where Hispanics are the majority, including a growing number of Dominicans both in northern Manhattan and in parts of the Bronx that were added to the 13th District in the last re-drawing of Congressional lines.
“There’s no question about the fact that Dominicans are largely going to vote for Adriano Espaillat,” said Carlos Vargas-Ramos, researcher at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College