Rep. Charles Rangel vigorously condemned state Sen. Adriano Espaillat today over a campaign flyer that portrays Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, a Rangel ally, as a traitor.
Linares, who is challenging Espaillat in a Democratic primary for his state Senate on Thursday, backed Rangel over Espaillat earlier this year in a congressional primary, which Rangel won.
Both Linares and Espaillat are Dominican American and represent heavily Dominican neighborhoods in northern Manhattan.
One side of the flyer reads, “When Guillermo Linares had the chance to help send the first Latino from Northern Manhattan to Congress….” “…He chose instead to betray us,” the back side continues.
“This type of filthy literature is an example of what we don’t want in this great country,” Rangel said at a press conference at 165th Street and Broadway today. “We haven’t had this type of filth in over 40 years.”
Rangel, who is African American, argued that the advertisement was un-American and criticized what he called an effort to divide diverse groups of constituents. Rangel also charged that Espaillat had failed to take responsibility for the advertisement and that he had instead responded by talking about people who had endorsed him, including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former city comptroller Bill Thompson.
“Let me tell you something, senator,” Rangel said. “You can mention all of the names you want, whether it’s Cuomo, de Blasio, or Thompson. I know them well enough to know they reject this.”
The Espaillat campaign, meanwhile, suspended its campaign today to honor the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Rangel acknowledged the Sept. 11 anniversary and tried to turn it against Espaillat. “If Mr. Espaillat suspended his political campaign today in the memory of what is great about our country, don’t let him suspend common decency, justice and what is right,” he said.
Ibrahim Khan, a spokesman for Espaillat, criticized Rangel and Linares for “politicking” on Sept. 11.
“On a day when even President Obama and Governor Romney chose to put politics aside, Mr. Linares, Congressman Rangel, and their political allies are out campaigning in a last ditch effort to gain support,” Khan said in a statement. “The real issue of outrage in the community is that Linares and Rangel made a backroom political deal, with Linares endorsing Rangel and, in exchange, Rangel endorsing Linares and his daughter. Their petty attempts to get publicity two days before the Primary are disingenuous, as is their overt politicking on September 11th.”
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