Newspaper Reports Rumor That State Senator May Challenge Rangel

Posted August 18, 2009 at 9:05am

New York state Sen. Bill Perkins (D) is denying rumors that he is contemplating challenging Rep. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.) in the Democratic primary next year.City Hall News, a political insider newspaper in New York, reported Tuesday that there is speculation in Manhattan political circles that Perkins may decide to run against Rangel now that the Congressman is facing questions about his finances.But while acknowledging that “it would be an honor— to someday serve in Congress, Perkins denied that he was considering a race against Rangel.“I’m flattered to be considered but that’s not on my agenda right now.— Perkins told the newspaper. “My agenda is fulfilling the people’s interests and needs in the State Senate.—But the report about Perkins is the latest sign that the 20-term Congressman is not as politically indestructible as he once was, and that ambitious politicians in upper Manhattan may see political blood in the water.Rangel is reeling from tax problems and allegations that he improperly raised money for an educational program at the City College of New York that bears his name.While no one has publicly taken steps to running against Rangel, at least half a dozen local elected officials are seen as potential candidates in the event that the 79-year-old Congressman decides to retire next year.Besides Perkins, the list of potential contenders includes New York City Councilwoman Inez Dickens, state Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, Councilman Robert Jackson, Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV and Assemblyman Keith Wright. All are Democrats.Powell, son of the legendary former Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (N.Y.), whom Rangel ousted in the 1970 Democratic primary, gave Rangel his last tough challenge, taking one-third of the vote against him in the 1994 Democratic primary.Perkins is something of a maverick in New York politics. He was one of the few elected officials in the Empire State to endorse Barack Obama over New Yorker Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.