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ďA lot of people are looking at this as Latinos vs. African-Americans,Ē Lynch told Roll Call. ďThatís not the way to look at it. Heís more than just an African-American candidate. African-Americans will support him strongly, but heíll get a lot of Hispanic support, heíll get a lot of labor support and heíll get support from the white community ó all people who know him and whom he has helped in his 30-plus years in the Congress.Ē
But those familiar with Espaillatís campaign believe that the number of likely primary voters who havenít made up their minds is very small and the state Senatorís narrative will appeal to those swing voters more than Rangelís pitch. They believe general dissatisfaction with Congress, along with Rangelís ethics issues and the changing demographics of the district, gives Espaillat a clear shot at the seat.
Rangel said in a recent statement that he is definitely running for re-election, a fact a spokesman confirmed to Roll Call last week. The filing deadline for Congress in the Empire State is April 20.
Still, the possibility remains that after more than 41 years in Congress, Rangel may decide to retire. He suffered recently from back issues that kept him hospitalized and away from the House. And as he told the New York Daily News in December 2010: ďAt my age, you donít buy green bananas.Ē