Yesterday, it was noticed that Mayor Bloomberg was part of the host committee for Congressman Charles Rangel's big 82nd birthday gala-fundraiser, suggesting that Bloomberg would endorse the embattled politician. Now Bloomberg has officially thrown his support—along with former Mayor Ed Koch's—towards Rangel.
"I’m proud to join with Ed Koch and so many others in endorsing Charlie Rangel,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “For more than four decades, he has delivered for New York City time and time again. We've had six very different Mayors during his tenure in Congress, but we all shared one thing in common: when the City needs results in Washington, you pick up the phone and call Congressman Rangel. He has fought for his country, fought for his city and fought for residents of his district. We need to keep him in office and fighting for us - so let’s get behind Charlie!”
Mayor Ed Koch, who served as Mayor of New York for three terms, also chimed in: "I have worked with Charlie Rangel since 1963. He served the country heroically in the Korean War and he has served New York City very well in Congress. He needs our help, let's do it!"
Also on the host committee of Rangel's birthday/fundraiser: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Comptroller John Liu, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
Rangel, now the third-longest serving member of Congress, was censured by the House for nearly a dozen ethics violations in 2010. He is now facing a primary challenge from State Senator Adriano Espaillat. Rangel and Espaillat were both at a Bronx Democratic club yesterday. According to the NY Times:
Many observers believe that the race will be Mr. Rangel’s toughest since he was first elected over four decades ago. In addition to his ethical issues, he has also been slowed in recent months by serious back problems. Moreover, redistricting has resulted in a district that is majority Latino, a factor that is believed to favor Mr. Espaillat, who would be the first Dominican-American elected to Congress.
Mr. Espaillat on Tuesday kept his remarks uniformly positive, not referring to Mr. Rangel by name but emphasizing the need for new representation. “Change is in the air,” he said. “I think it’s time to turn the page. I think it’s time to bring a bold new vision to Congress.”
In 2010, before Rangel was convicted by the House for ethics violations, President Obama said he hoped that Rangel would end his career with "dignity." Earlier this month, when asked if Obama would support his re-election, Rangel said, "Damn, that's a good question."