Congressman Charles Rangel and his chief opponent hit the campaign trail Saturday, trying to rally the troops before Tuesday's primary. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
Rep. Charles Rangel turned to the dance floor and the altar Saturday as he tried to rally voters ahead of the Democratic primary election that will determine whether he can keep his job for a 23rd term.
"I'm not taking anything granted. I have to make certain that we get them to the polls and that they vote," Rangel said.
The Congressman stuck to his script, trying to avoid a last-minute slip of the tongue.
He's up against a tough opponent in State Senator Adriano Espaillat—a Dominican born politician who is trying to seize on Rangel's diminishing power and the demographic shift that has made the district majority Hispanic.
Espaillat turned out a large, energetic crowd and caravan of cars streching up Broadway.
A recent NY1 poll shows him trailing Rangel by 13 points.
So it was no suprise Espaillat balanced the glad-handing with some sharp punches aimed squarely at Rangel.
"This coalition is a coalition of victory that is completely convinced that Washington is broken and in the center of that dysfunction—in the center of that dysfunction—is a gentleman called Charles Rangel," Espaillat said.
The purpose of all these events is to get those crucial voters to the polls. With the primary on a day most people don't associate with voting, it's all going to come down to turnout.
The third main candidate, Michael Walrond, was also on the trail, claiming Rangel's past his prime.
"My focus is really on empowering young people to be the future leaders. That's really the kind of work we want to bring to the elected space," Walrond said.
Throughout the day, Rangel made it clear that he thought his age was an asset the district couldn't live without.
"If you had a good, old horse that kept winning the races, why in the world would you want to bring in a colt that doesn't even know where the track is," Rangel said.
And it didn't hurt that Rangel showed he can still cut a rug.