Even with the dark cloud of a bruising financial scandal and upcoming House ethics trial hanging overhead, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) appears poised to add another term to his long and illustrious career as Harlem’s Congressman, according to the latest fundraising numbers. Fending off spirited bids from a crowded field in New York’s coveted 15th District, Rangel raised an impressive amount of money in the reporting period between July 1st through August 25th.
Federal Election Commission reports show Rangel with nearly $423,000 cash on hand and raising over $400,000 during the summer period as the controversy surrounding alleged House ethics rules violations heated up. Despite that, Rangel is well ahead of his competition, out raising NY State Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (D) who could only manage to bring in a little over $44,000 during that same time frame with only less than $39,000 cash on hand.
“Rangel has forty years of relationships to tap into,” noted Jonathan Hicks, Senior Fellow at Medgar Evers College-CUNY DuBois Bunche Policy Center and a former New York Times reporter, in an interview with Politic365.com. “At the end of the day, that’s what makes the difference in this race. There are people in Harlem who view him as the victim and, frankly, voters in that district are particularly attracted to candidates that are, in their view, being publicly maligned and harassed.”
Still, Rangel had a cushion of support from his own coffers as FEC reports show him transferring $677,015 to date from his own political action committees. In this latest quarter, Rangel transferred $133,680 from his PAC.
Yet, the number of individual contributions going into Rangel’s campaign outpaces the cash he’s received from other PACs and non-party committees, indicating a wave of grassroots support for the embattled 80-year old Congressman.
Remarkably, Rangel – who not only faces a House panel upon Congress’ post-recess return this month but lost his coveted Chair to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee – seems unscathed by the controversy in his famous and predominantly African American district, which has seen dramatic cultural changes over the years. Even though the New York Times recently endorsed one of his opponents, former Seagrams executive Joyce Johnson (D), a July Public Policy Polling survey put Rangel ahead of his five Democratic primary rivals by 28% while holding a 49% job approval rating.