“A lot of people are looking at this as Latinos vs. African-Americans,” Lynch told Roll Call. “That’s not the way to look at it. He’s more than just an African-American candidate. African-Americans will support him strongly, but he’ll get a lot of Hispanic support, he’ll get a lot of labor support and he’ll get support from the white community — all people who know him and whom he has helped in his 30-plus years in the Congress.”
But those familiar with Espaillat’s campaign believe that the number of likely primary voters who haven’t made up their minds is very small and the state Senator’s narrative will appeal to those swing voters more than Rangel’s pitch. They believe general dissatisfaction with Congress, along with Rangel’s 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: “At my age, you don’t buy green bananas.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.