As state Senator Adriano Espaillat tries to unseat Rep. Charles Rangel in a tough Democratic primary, he also finds himself distracted by an opponent with little shot at winning. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
Supporters of Yolanda Garcia are calling on State Senator Adriano Espaillat to back off.
They claim that allies of the candidate for congress are using some unsavory tactics to force Garcia out of the race.
According to Garcia's backers, she has been startled awake by late-night knocks at her door since she decided to join the field of candidates challenging Rep. Charles Rangel.
"We're not saying that he sent people to harass her, but the people around him or those affiliated with him are doing this," said Richard Soto, Garcia's campaign manager.
"This is a serious allegation, and I will ask the police department to take a deep look and investigate the complaint because obviously, filing a false complaint is a felony in the state of New York," Espaillat said.
This back-and-forth between Espaillat and Garcia will likely in the end amount to nothing more than a sideshow. The real race is between Espaillat and Rangel.
That said, it is possible that the little-known Garcia could pose problems for Espaillat as he tries to mobilize Latino support.
In fact, the Espaillat campaign is challenging Garcia's petitions in an attempt to get her knocked off the ballot.
Meanwhile, Rangel and Espaillat are ratcheting up their attacks on each other after it was reported that Espaillat voted against legislation aimed at combating gang violence.
"There goes Charlie Rangel, desperate Charlie Rangel again," Espaillat said. "Never once did I see him in a tenant meeting where tenants were organizing to push drug dealers out of their building."
The Rangel campaign shot back, saying, "For a campaign accused of threatening women in their own homes, Albany State Senator Espaillat owes the voters an explanation for why he has repeatedly sided with criminals instead of everyday New Yorkers."
Espaillat's office said the state senator has worked on plenty of bills to fight violence.