Charlie Rangel’s challenge: The end of an era?
(Sunlight Foundation) The seat at stake, in New York's 13th Congressional District, has been a place where black politicians have flourished — the place where Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. became the Empire State's first African American elected to Congress. It's one of two races taking place today where entrenched incumbents are facing challengers fuelled by outside money. In the other, veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, now seems comfortably ahead despite considerable outside spending on behalf of his challenger, former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist.
In New York, however, incumbent Rep. Charles Rangel, is facing what may be his toughest race since he was first elected, 42 years ago. A well-known and influential Democrat who succeeded Powell in the Harlem-based seat, the 82-year-old Korean War hero became the first African American chairman of the Ways and Means Commitee and was a founding member for the Congressional Black Caucus. He has routinely been reelected by overwhelming margins.