Voters will decide the fate of veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel in todays primary.
Vito Lopez, chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic organization, has some skin in this primary. He’s backing New York City Councilman Erik Dilan against Rep. Nydia Velázquez, who has long been someone he would rather not see in Congress. Velázquez, by most accounts, took the threat seriously, worked hard and has positioned herself for a relatively comfortable victory tonight.
8th District Democratic Primary
The primary to replace retiring Rep. Edolphus Towns (D) is an interesting battle. It pits state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has the backing from just about every important figure in the Empire State’s Democratic establishment, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, against New York City Councilman Charles Barron, whose views veer quite far from the establishment line. Jeffries, who became an Assemblyman in 2007, is seen as a rising star and has strong progressive bona fides that leave insiders thinking he has a future as a leader, should he get to Congress. Barron, who has voiced support for African dictators Robert Mugabe and the late Moammar Gadhafi, has a strong base of support in the district that shouldn’t be underestimated. Still, Jeffries is expected to win this one.
13th District Democratic Primary
If there’s one race to watch tonight, this is it. There is a very real chance that 82-year-old Rep. Charlie Rangel, who was first elected in 1970, will be unseated. His likely top competitor is ambitious state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who, if elected, would become the first Dominican-American Congressman. Also on the ballot are Clyde Williams, a former national political director at the Democratic National Committee, retired business executive Joyce Johnson and activist Craig Schley.
A few weeks ago, New York Democratic insiders believed Rangel was running a severely lackluster campaign but would squeak out a victory in a crowded field. Now those familiar with the race aren’t so sure.
“They never put together a professional campaign,” said one aide to a New York Democratic Member. “They could have, but they didn’t.”
“Charlie does not have much of an organization going on in the district,” one New York City Democratic insider said.
Espaillat, on the other hand, has put together what’s seen as a potent ground operation. One operative in the district noticed a “tremendous amount of activity” from Espaillat’s camp in recent days.
Williams got a real boost from the New York Times on June 16, when the paper of record, influential in parts of the district, gave him its endorsement. “He understands the area’s diverse needs and has plans for job creation, education and tax reform,” the Times wrote. Williams doesn’t appear as well-known as Espaillat or Rangel — most of Espaillat’s state Senate district is in the 13th and Rangel is an icon. But Williams could overperform and potentially surprise.
With low turnout, this is likely to be close.
18th District Democratic Primary
Democrats and Republicans familiar with this race believe attorney Sean Patrick Maloney, a former aide to Bill Clinton who has picked up the former president’s endorsement, is the strongest candidate because of his skill on the stump and fundraising prowess. He seems likely to beat physician Richard Becker, who appears to be his closest competitor. Democrats acknowledge Maloney has some weaknesses — he spent a good bit of time as a Manhattan attorney — but they think those disadvantages can be overcome with his fundraising.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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