Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), who faces a looming House ethics trial, fended off a handful of primary challengers to secure his party's nomination for a 21st term Tuesday.
Rangel had 53 percent, with 59 percent of precincts reporting when the Associated Press called the contest. His closest challenger was Adam Clayton Powell IV, who secured 25 percent of the vote. Powell is the son of former Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D), whom Rangel ousted in the 1970 Democratic primary.
Rangel is heavily favored to win re-election in November in the staunchly Democratic Harlem-based 15th district. Still, his victory on Tuesday will be viewed as a loss in some Democratic corners because it will help keep his ethics issues in the spotlight during the battle for control of the House this fall.
An ethics subcommittee in July charged Rangel with 13 counts of wrongdoing, including allegations that he misused federal resources to solicit donations for a City College of New York center named in his honor, accepted a rent-stabilized apartment for his campaign office, failed to pay taxes on a Dominican Republic villa and filed inaccurate financial disclosure forms.
Republicans have worked to make Rangel a symbol of corruption within the Democratic Party and to turn his ethics case into a state and national campaign issue.
After he was stripped of his Ways and Means chairmanship this summer some Democrats hoped the Congressman would simply resign and move the ethics issue off the table. But Rangel has chosen to take his fight to the House floor as well as the court of public opinion and many Democrats privately say that's the last thing they need in an already tough election cycle.