Charlie Rangel faced opposition from State Senator Adriano Espaillat and other candidates. Espaillat received a healthy 39% of the vote but was defeated by Rangel.
Rangel did not receive the endorsements of the major newspapers in our city, but he won the support of the people who matter most, the voters.
Rangel's victory is made even more special because it is the first time that his district includes parts of the Bronx. After decades of bringing people together, Charlie Rangel is now the political bridge that unites the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, communities dominated by people of color who live in residential neighborhoods that they love.
Espaillat's state senate seat is likely now jeopardized. His candidacy seemed to be born as a result of a change in the calendar and a sense that he could run and lose without consequences. He may have miscalculated.
Espaillat challenged Rangel because the federal government forced New York State to hold its federal primaries earlier as part of a demand to allow military families living outside of the US to have an opportunity to participate fully in the electoral process. Traditionally, primaries were held in the first half of September in New York State. This year, the New York State primaries for state and local offices will occur in September, but the federal primaries (U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives) took place today.
While Espaillat was unsuccessfully challenging Rangel, Guillermo Linares, the first Dominican American elected to a major office in the United States (as well as former member of the New York City Council and a current member of the New York State Assembly), announced his desire to defeat Espaillat in the September primary for Espaillat's state senate seat. Linares endorsed Rangel and was seen at Rangel's victory party tonight. Linares is a heavyweight legislator with an impressive record. Linares has also earned the support of most of Rangel's key supporters.
In addition, Assemblyman Linares' daughter, a long-time star in the Democratic Party in Manhattan, has begun the process of working to replace her father in the New York State Assembly as he works to move to the New York State Senate. Mayra Linares was a district leader in Upper Manhattan for many years before joining the administration of Governor Cuomo, and she will start the race as a leading candidate with an impressive biography.
So, we will have at least two very exciting and important races in Upper Manhattan in September for positions in the State Legislature. We hope that the September primaries end with two victors named Linares just as tonight ended with a very satisfying and telling victory for Upper Manhattan's political leader, Charlie Rangel.