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N.Y. Rep. Rangel wins primary

June 26, 2012 at 11:29 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, June 26 (UPI) -- Veteran U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., overcame a stiff fight against four primary opponents in a district that is now more than half Hispanic.

Rangel, 82, won Tuesday's Democratic primary and as a result is likely to win a 22nd term, USA Today said. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, 57, a Dominican-American widely regarded as Rangel's strongest challenger, has been campaigning hard among Hispanics, CNN reported.

Rangel has served longer in Congress than all but two of his colleagues. Between 2007 and 2011, he was the first black chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

The 15th district was reshaped and renumbered after the 2010 Census and is now the 13th. It stretches from East Harlem into the Bronx.

Clyde Williams, a former aide to Bill Clinton who was also in the race, said the district was 46 percent Hispanic even before redistricting and that did not hurt Rangel. Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist, said turnout was critical and the Dominican-American record on getting to the polls is "atrocious."

"We don't know who will turn out beyond people that would normally turn out for Charlie Rangel through organizations that he's used forever," Sheinkopf said Monday. "How could he lose? If none of the people show up who want to keep it a Harlem-based district."

Rangel won despite ethics violations arising when he was found in 2010 to have evaded tax on income from a rental in the Dominican Republic. Sheinkopf said in 2010 Rangel won with his lowest percentage of the vote ever, but four out of five people still chose him.

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