New York City Congressman Charles Rangel is back in the nation's capital, where all signs are pointing that he will represent a newly drawn district for the next two years. The Harlem democrat won a hard fought primary Tuesday, with tighter margins than some had imagined in a district that now includes part of The Bronx. Our Josh Robin has the details.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Congressman Rangel says there's no time to celebrate. Not when student loan rates are set to jump and the U.S. Attorney General is on the hot seat over a botched gun operation. He caught an early morning train from Penn Station and shrugged off the close tally of Tuesday's primary.
Rangel said, "I don't think they record it by the percentage. They record it by who won."
His margin over State Senator Adriano Espaillat is close. It appears, in fact, to be his tightest margin since 1970, when Rangel took office after besting Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in another primary. Three others were also-rans.
Rangel says he wasn't concerned, even as the district is now majority Latino, and his congressional censure became a campaign issue.
Rangel said, "If you've done any job for 42 years and three people say they want the job and they have no experience, it's just going in and applying for an extension of your job and feeling confident that you've had to have done a helluva terrible job if people are going to take a gamble with three people who have no experience at all."
Espaillat would only say through a statement that he was proud of his campaign.
Political consultant Basil Smikle says voters trusted Rangel more to bring home the bacon from D.C.
"They did not buy any of the arguments from any of his challengers. They did not make the case to fire Charlie Rangel and hire them into the seat. And until they do that and probably until Charles Rangel is good and ready to leave, he will be in that office," Smikle said.
Rangel does have to run in the general election, although he's facing off against an opponent who he's beaten before.
Craig Schley, a former Rangel intern, is running on the Republican line. The former firefighter also faced off against his former boss in this week's primary, losing, like he did in the 2010 general election on the Independence Party line.