The drip, drip of state Senator Adriano Espaillat‘s congressional campaign is becoming a torrent of activity, both in the media and on the streets of Harlem and Washington Heights.
The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Grossman reported this morning that Espaillat is going “all in” in his challenge to Harlem congressman Charlie Rangel.
In what could amount to one of the strongest challenges yet to Rep. Charles Rangel‘s 41-year hold on his Harlem seat, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat said Monday that he would mount a primary challenge to the dean of New York congressional delegation.
To his credit, Grossman points out what many in the black community are saying privately about an iconic black community possibly passing politically into the hands of an Hispanic representative. That may be a needless concern considering that some iconic antebellum Confederate cities are represented by African American Members of Congress.
Grossman also hints that the expected Hispanic wall of support for Espaillat may not be as solid as some think. Rangel has solid support among Puerto Rican voters and elected officials such as East Harlem freshman Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez and Bronx BP Ruben Diaz, Jr.
Among the swing voters is Luis Torres. He’s part of the Hispanic majority that makes up Mr. Rangel’s district, but as a Puerto Rican, he isn’t part of Mr. Espaillat’s natural constituency.
“Immigrants come in and establish their institutions, they elect officials,” said Mr. Torres, a 62-year-old researcher. “Dominicans are doing that, and they’re doing it very well.”
But like others in Harlem, he worries about having a neighborhood sometimes called the capital of black America represented by someone who isn’t African-American. “There’s a history here that is lost as demographics shift and new populations establish themselves,” he said. “They lose that connection to the history, to the struggles that made Harlem possible.”