Rangel, who at 84 is among the longest-serving and best-known
lawmakers in Congress, faces an aggressive challenge from state
Senator Adriano Espaillat, who came within 1,000 votes of ousting
him two years ago after the district boundaries were redrawn.
A Siena College poll released last week found Rangel leading
Espaillat 47 percentage points to 34 points among likely voters in
the district. But primary results can be difficult to predict
because much depends on turnout.
"Charlie has dedicated his life to being a strong, progressive
leader consistently delivering for his constituents," Cuomo, a
Democrat, said in a statement.
"His experience, seniority, and steadfast commitment to improving
the lives of New Yorkers continue to make him a critical voice in
standing up to the Tea Party extremism that is threatening to take
over Washington," the governor said.
In this liberal bastion of New York City, the winner of the
Democratic primary on Tuesday is all but guaranteed to win the
general election in November.
While Rangel, who was censured by the House in 2010 after an ethics
scandal, boasts a long list of endorsements - including former
President Bill Clinton, New York's U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and
Kirsten Gillibrand and the city’s largest labor union - the major
local newspapers have been split.
[to top of second column]
The New York Times threw its support behind Espaillat, saying it is
time for Rangel to "yield to the next generation," while on Sunday
the New York Daily News endorsed Rangel, whom the paper called a
"master legislator" deserving of a "last hurrah."
According to the Siena poll, voters are divided along racial lines.
Rangel, who is black, holds a 70-point advantage among blacks while
Espaillat, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, holds a 24-point
advantage among Latinos. White voters in the district favor Rangel
43 percent to 38 percent.
And voters believe by a nearly two-to-one margin that Rangel will
emerge victorious, the poll found.
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Eric Walsh)
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