Congressman Charles Rangel survived a tough primary fight Tuesday and will have a chance to retain the seat he's held for 42 years. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Charles Rangel, the so-called lion of Lenox Avenue confessed his heart was fluttering when he emerged to address a crowd of supporters.
His heart fluttered for good reason. His race could have gone the other way.
Rangel's district had been redrawn to now include not just his Upper Manhattan base but also a slice of the Bronx. It's also majority Hispanic, opening up a window for State Sen. Adriano Espaillat.
"In 12 weeks, we were able to energize the community, we were able to bring all of you together," Espaillat said in his concession speech. "We were able to build hope for this community, and we came short."
Some said Rangel was in the Capitol long enough, that whatever seniority he had was undone by his admitted ethics lapses.
Rangel is also recovering from a spinal infection. Espaillat heavily implied that the 82-year-old lawmaker was well past his prime.
But the odds only added fire to Rangel's belly.
"How can you say that someone is too old to run for office and then go to senior centers and tell the people there you're supporting them?" said former Gov. David Paterson.
While Rangel may have had tougher fights in his long career, he seemed to be personally affected by this one.
"I'm really surprised that my major opponent waited until I had a back infection before he announced," he said. "But he didn't have much confidence in medical science."
As for the future, Espaillat has said he wasn't running for re-election in the state senate, though his name recently surfaced on nominating ballots.
Rangel will almost certainly will be in Washington for a 43rd year. As supporters joked, with his staying power in the nation's capital, Rangel may end up as the Strom Thurmond of New York City politics.