Rep. Charles Rangel, the dean of the New York delegation, who has served Harlem in Congress since 1971, announced Thursday that he plans to seek re-election once again, but he could have a tough political rematch on his hands as his district has changed quite a bit. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Charles Rangel was first elected to Congress the year the Beatles broke up. John Lindsay was mayor, and the nation's Environmental Protection Agency was born.
Now, Rangel said Thursday that he is seeking a 23rd term to help implement President Barack Obama's agenda.
"There's a lot of work that the president has started that we haven't had an opportunity to complete," he said.
If Rangel and the president see eye-to-eye on policy, they haven't always had the smoothest personal relationship. Obama once stated publicly that the dean of New York's congressional delegation should "end his career with dignity" when facing an ethics scandal. Privately, Obama has reportedly said much worse things.
"I don't have any problems with this president," Rangel said. "I have a problem with our economy. I've got a problem with the homeless, the jobless and the hopeless."
Two years ago, Rangel faced a primary challenge from state Senator Adriano Espaillat. The district became more Latino when it was redrawn in 2012. While Rangel won that race, it was close, with Espaillat not conceding for two weeks.
Espaillat is stopping just short of publicly saying he's running again.
"New Yorkers think it's time for a change," he said. "Someone in the papers called it today a civic renaissance in New York City where our people want new government. They want a new model of government. They want a new model of leadership."
Espaillat said he won't make anything official until the new year, but sources say he's running.
The 83-year-old Rangel took a shot at his potential rival, questioning how he could hold his state Senate seat and also run for Congress. As of now, the state and federal primaries are months apart, which means Espaillat could conceivably run for both.
"Some of you may recall that the last time he challenged me, he said he wasn't running for the Senate," Rangel said. "He's in the Senate now."
The federal primary will be in June no matter what, but Democrats in the state legislature are pushing a bill that would align the state primary on the same day so that voters won't have to go to the polls several times. Republicans, however, are opposed to that bill.