If censure-slapped Rep. Charles Rangel is forced to step down, Gov. Paterson may be his replacement

December 3, 2010

Frank DiGiacomo, NY Daily News

So what’s the angle on Rangel?

Now that the House Ethics Committee has voted overwhelmingly to censure Rep. Charles Rangel, insiders are laying odds on whether the congressman will face more pressure to give up his seat and – more importantly – who’s got the inside track to replace him.

Rangel was resoundingly reelected last month, but if censure comes to shove and he decides to leave office before his term is up, a special election would be called and the Democratic leadership in Rangel’s political district would pick the nominee.

One name we’re hearing is that of outgoing Gov. Paterson.

In the eyes of some political operatives, the scandal-scarred Paterson is a long shot because he comes with as much, or more, baggage than Rangel. But one Washington insider says “speculation around David has become hotter” over the last few weeks.

Despite the governor’s negatives, the source points out that Paterson remains well liked, is “very close” to Rangel and thus may end up as the “safest, most conciliatory choice” for the district. (Rangel and the governor’s father, Basil Paterson, were also half of the Harlem “Gang of Four” that made the precinct a center of black political clout in an earlier era.)

But Harlem’s demographics and politics are both much different today, and other sources contend that a more likely replacement is Assemblyman and Manhattan Democratic chairman Keith Wright.

When we ran this story by him, Wright told us, “I’ve always made it a point of saying that if and when Congressman Rangel is no longer a member of Congress, I would love to be considered for the job.”

But the assemblyman stressed that he doesn’t think Rangel is going anywhere. “With over 81% of the vote in the general election,” Wright says, it’s “clear” that “Charlie Rangel still has the support of Harlem in an overwhelming fashion. He hasn’t lost the faith of his constituents.”

Stay tuned.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/12/03/2010-12-03_if_censureslapped_rep_charles_rangel_is_forced_to_step_down_gov_paterson_may_be_.html#ixzz173Hig4gf

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