As primary nears, congressional race gets ugly
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By Adam Wisnieski
Mr. Espaillat denied having anything to do with petitions, which he said had been circulated without his consent.
That wasn’t good enough for Mr. Rangel. He said on NY1 that the young challenger was not reacting strongly enough. Mr. Rangel sited his own rage at the rumor that he would resign after getting elected to how he thought Mr. Espaillat should respond.
“When the rumor was Rangel’s not going to serve out his term, I was outraged … for me to think that someone could have a petition out there for me, unauthorized, I would be outraged and I would take it to the District Attorney’s Office,” he said.
Mr. Rangel had a copy of the petition in his pocket, which he waved around twice during the show.
Mr. Espaillat lashed back at the 82-year-old incumbent. He blamed Mr. Rangel for the Democrats losing control of the House in 2010.
“Back in 2010, you know, the congressman gave the Tea Party Republicans an early Christmas gift when he was censured and as a result of that we lost 60 Democratic seats in the Congress and the Tea Party radicals invaded Congress and are pushing back on Obama.” Mr. Espaillat said, as Mr. Rangel, seated to his left, smiled.
Mr. Espaillat went on to call Mr. Rangel the “poster child for dysfunction in Washington.”
Mr. Espaillat’s campaign sent out a 30-page report later that night that included articles about Republicans attacking Democrats as ethically challenged.
Mr. Rangel acknowledged the race had for the first time gotten “nasty” after Mr. Espaillat said the incumbent believed he was the only one who could represent the district in Washington, D.C.
“I never thought that I was the only person that was qualified for this job. It never entered my mind that in this great country of ours and in our great district that there are people who are equally if not more qualified. What I did say is that you are not one of them,” he said.
While much of the debate revolved around Mr. Espaillat and Mr. Rangel, Mr. Williams, the Washington, D.C. operator who has been on par with Mr. Espaillat in terms of raising money for this campaign, lashed back at the two of them.
KeywordsAdam Wisnieski, Congressional District 13, politics, campaigning, Charles Rangel, Adriano Espaillat, Clyde Williams, Joyce Johnson, Craig Schley, debate,