Vince Morgan, who is running for Rep. Charlie Rangel’s seat, characterized the state’s slow-moving redistricting process today in some of the harshest, on-the-record terms I have yet to hear from a candidate running for office.
“It’s a clusterf*ck,” said Vince Morgan, a banker who lost in a primary against Rangel in 2010. “That is on the record. It’s a clusterf*ck. However you can put that into print, do that.”
Morgan noted that petitioning for congressional candidates is legally supposed to start on March 20, and yet the lines are still far from final. Last night at midnight, Federal Magistrate Roanne Mann released her revised proposal for the state’s congressional districts, which included several tweaks of the previous version. Rangel’s district, however, appeared unchanged.
If Mann’s maps are approved by the Legislature, the 13th congressional district would include Harlem as well as a sizeable chunk of the Bronx. Morgan said that since his affidavit to the courts were among those that originally spurred the appointment of Judge Mann as special master, he still feels obligated to run for Congress.
“You can’t support a special master being appointed, and then say, ‘Oh, I don’t like what this independent judge came up with,’” he said. “New York State didn’t do its job, and this special master came along and put out maps that made sense.”
I asked him to address rumors we had been hearing that he would abandon his run against Rangel, who maintains he is running for re-election, and instead challenge Councilwoman Inez Dickens for her seat in 2013. He wouldn’t confirm that, but also did not entirely rule it out for the future.
“That’s not here nor there,” Morgan said. “I will take stock of that situation as we move forward. I’m a realist, and the numbers in this district don’t lie.”
Dickens is considered a frontrunner in the race to replace Christine Quinn as speaker of the City Council. Running against her would agitate the Harlem political machine, headed by Rangel and Assemblyman Keith Wright, but appeasing the powers that be is clearly not part of Morgan’s strategy.
Under Mann’s proposal, Rangel’s district goes from a majority-Latino district to a very-majority-Latino district. Strangely enough, Morgan said he would urge a Dominican candidate to get in the race. To him, the more the merrier.
“If there’s a qualified Hispanic or Dominican who want to enter the race, I think they should,” Morgan said. “For me, its about representation for the entire district, and not continuing to promote this black against white against Hispanic situation we’ve got.”
He may get his wish. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat announced last Sunday that he would be forming an congressional exploratory committee. Espaillat has said he would not run a primary against Rangel, but if the long-serving congressman sticks to his guns, he may have to do just that.
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