HARLEM (Politico) — For decades, they’ve battled for supremacy atop Harlem’s political order: Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, the polished committee chairman and power broker, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, the tracksuit-clad bomb-throwing civil rights leader.
Now Sharpton, looking svelte and dapper on his daily MSNBC show, may have his chance to finally take out Rangel — at age 83 and in the toughest, almost certainly final, reelection fight of his 43-year congressional career.
It’s a sweet turn for Sharpton, who could never quite win acceptance among the established political class here that Rangel led. When Sharpton, 59, ran for mayor and president, he was stung when the congressman sided with the Democratic Party’s favorites instead. But now it’s Rangel’s turn to grovel.
The behind-the-scenes maneuvering pitting two of New York City’s most recognizable politicians has added a layer of intrigue to a congressional race already filled with drama. The campaign has centered on personal issues rather than policy ones: Rangel is reminding voters of his decades of service; his opponents are saying it’s time for a fresh face.