New York Daily News

Charlie’s in a war!

Rangel seat on line Tuesday

- BYALISON GENDAR agendar@nydailynew­

TUESDAY IS THE moment of truth for longtime Harlem Congressma­n Charles Rangel and his 42 years on the Hill.

Scarred by a House censure for ethical lapses, including failing to pay taxes on a vacation home, the 82-year-old legend is in a fight for his political life in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

He has likened the ethical blunders to “spitting on the sidewalk,” but his major opponents charge he is too old, too tainted and too out-of-touch to be voted into a 22nd term.

“I’m Charlie Rangel, and I’m the story,” Rangel told the Daily News editorial board earlier this month, refusing to even name his primary challenger­s. “Who the hell knows, or cares?”

His opponents countered that Rangel’s arrogance is part of the problem.

“A page needs to be turned,” challenger Adriano Espaillat told The News. The state senator has worked to capitalize on the 55% Hispanic majority of the redrawn 13th Congressio­nal District to bolster his chances for an upset.

“It can’t be business as usual,” said challenger Clyde Williams, an aide to former President Bill Clinton, who argues his Washington experience would serve the district well.

His other primary challenger­s are retired executive Joyce Johnson and exmodel Craig Schley. Rangel’s censure by the House of Representa­tives in 2010 came after he admitted he didn’t pay taxes on the vacation home and had misused his office to get donations. He chalked the stumbles up to sloppy bookkeepin­g.

His opponents did not go after him in negative fashion for his ethics violations, but campaign watchers said the slips cost Rangel support from President Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Rangel did get the nod from Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg.

Two other congressio­nal incumbents in city districts decided to retire, giving voters in parts of Queens and Brooklyn their first open contests in 30 years.

Assemblyma­n Hakeem Jeffries is battling Councilman Charles Barron for the redrawn 8th Congressio­nal seat in Brooklyn. The fiery Barron won a bizarre patchwork of endorsemen­ts, from retiring Congressma­n Ed Towns to the potentiall­y toxic support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Duke praised Barron, a former Black Panther member, for his stance against Israel, and smeared Jeffries as a “bought-and-paid-for Zionist Uncle Tom.”

Also in Brooklyn, voters in the redrawn 7th Congressio­nal District have a choice between incumbent Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Councilman Erik Dilan and newcomer Dan O’connor. Velazquez painted Dilan as a puppet of Brooklyn party boss Vito Lopez, while Dilan and O’connor claim Velazquez is a shill for Wall Street financiers, not Main Street.

In Queens, the feds are monitoring a hotly-contested fight between county Democratic Party pick Assemblywo­man Grace Meng, and main rivals Assemblyma­n Rory Lancman and Councilwom­an Elizabeth Crowley. Dr. Robert Mittman is also running.

Retiring Congressma­n Gary Ackerman said the soft-spoken but effective Meng is the best choice for the district, which was redrawn to give Asian communitie­s a bigger voice. Gov. Cuomo got off the fence at the last minute Monday night and endorsed Meng, making robo-calls on her behalf, calling her “the fighter we need in D.C.”

Polls in New York City are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Charles Rangel

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