Saturday, December 20, 2014

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In this special series, NY1's Michael Scotto looks at the re-election campaign of Rep. Charles Rangel, who says he's running for one final term in his four-decade career representing Upper Manhattan.

Rangel's Last Run: Rangel's Congressional Career Started by Beating a Political Legend

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As Rep. Charles Rangel fights for his 23rd term, he can't escape comparisons to the man he bounced from office nearly 44 years ago. NY1’s Washington Bureau Reporter Michael Scotto has been following him on the campaign trail this spring and has this report in part three of his series, "Rangel's Last Run."

Before Rep. Charles Rangel became a political legend, he ended the career of one.

In 1970, Rangel unseated Adam Clayton Powell Jr. And now, some are suggesting history might repeat itself, this time with Rangel getting the boot.

“He was in Bimini. I don't see the connection. I went to Bimini to beg Adam Powell to come back, and he decided not to,” Rangel said.

Powell was a no-show on Capitol Hill in his final years in office. Rangel, on the other hand, is a regular presence.

His attendance record much better than it was in 2012, when a back infection forced him to miss nearly 70 percent of votes during one part of that year.

This year, Rangel has touted statistics showing he is among the most productive lawmakers in Congress and has said his opponents just don't compare.

“Put up or shut up,” he said at a recent debate.

But keep in mind Rangel's prolific lawmaking was before an ethics scandal forced Rangel out as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He is still a member of the panel, though he will never again hold that position.

Since the 2010 censure, just one Rangel-sponsored measure has passed both Houses of Congress, according to the website Govtrack. His opponents say that's proof Rangel is no longer effective.

“Being censured, pulled out of the Ways and Means Committee, not being in the majority makes him pretty much like a freshman congressman,” said challenger state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

Rangel has tried to point the spotlight on his chief rival, Espaillat, by claiming the Albany lawmaker has a dismal record after nearly 20 years working in the State Capitol.

Espaillat has passed five bills through the State Senate since he was elected to the body in 2010. Four of them went on to become law. The Democrats do no control the State Senate. NYPIRG says Espaillat is doing slightly better than the average Democrat.

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