Following his victory at the Democratic primary leading to a possible 23rd representation at the Congress, supporters of Charles Rangel want him to start grooming a successor.
According to them, aside from giving them a viable voice at the lower chamber during his two final years, Rangel is expected to pick a reliable and people friendly politician like himself to carry on from where he left off.
“He needs to take someone with him to Washington every week and teach them the lay of the land”, said the chair of Community Board 11 in West Harlem, the Rev. Georgiette Morgan-Thomas.
Political watchers here say the mentoring became necessary and whoever is next in line should be prepared to bring together voters from different sections of the district.
Rangel’s home district of Central Harlem has recently been redrawn and includes part of the Bronx where Latino voters almost succeeded in sending the first Dominican American to the Congress.
For Rangel, he reportedly hinted at supporting a candidate when he said, “When you talk about grooming somebody, I think the way I earned the respect of every part of the district, that whoever succeeds has to do the same thing and not just come representing some parts of the district that is so beautifully diversified culturally. We all have to have a mutual respect.”
It is not clear whether the support for a candidate will come after the Democratic district’s Congressional primary. Rangels’ opponents including Adriano Espaillat are believed to be interested in the seat.
However, not all supporters favor the idea that the longest serving congressman should personally pick his successor. “We live in a democracy. When I left the state Assembly, I didn’t get to choose my replacement.” said Powell, the master of ceremonies at Rangel’s victory party last week.
In his opinion, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, Angelo Falcon said his last two close races and the issue of ethics violations against him may backfire on his chosen candidate.