‘Lion of Harlem’ roars to victory
Special to the Trice Edney Newswire from the Richmond Free Press
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, “the Lion of Harlem,” roared again on election night, June 24. The 84-year-old congressman overcame a fierce challenger in the Democratic primary to virtually ensure a 23rd term representing New York’s13th Congressional District.
With all precincts counted, the results show Rep. Rangel was ahead by 1,800 votes over state Sen. Adriano Espaillat in this rematch. Overall, Rep. Rangel claimed 47.3 percent of the vote to 44.6 percent for his rival, who also lost two years ago. After Rep. Rangel was declared the winner, the sound system that had played “I Will Survive” earlier in the night began blaring “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
The primary win is tantamount to election since the winner is expected to be unopposed in the November general election. Rep. Rangel said win or lose, this would be his final run for office. He was first elected to the seat in 1970, when he defeated incumbent Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
Espaillat was seeking to become the first Dominican-born member of Congress. The two men also squared off in 2012, a primary Rep. Rangel won by about 1,000 votes. One of the nation’s most powerful Black elected officials, Rep. Rangel has been the liberal voice for a district that was once heavily African American, but is now majority Latino.