Adam Clayton Powell IV eyes Rangel’s seat, again

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Adam Clayton Powell IV. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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If there's any name that's as well known as Charlie Rangel's in the congressional district he's represented for forty years, it's that of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the guy who occupied the seat for the 20 years before Rangel.

Powell's son, Adam Clayton Powell IV, who ran for the seat twice, said yesterday he's going to run again, if Rangel doesn't.

"If he doesn't run, I'm definitely in," Powell told me. "If he does run, I probably won't run."

Powell was a member of the City Council from 1992-1997 and then was a member of the State Assembly until 2010. Earlier that year, Powell had been found guilty of driving while impaired.

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He gave up his Assembly seat and wound up jumping into a crowded field of challengers to Rangel last year, as the 81-year-old Democrat suffered an embarrassing ethics probe, censure and loss of his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel won easily.

Heading into next year's elections, Rangel is, again, drawing a number of potential challengers, the latest being Clyde Williams, who worked for both presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The connections are seen as both a source of strength and, for opponents, a sign of Williams' potential vulnerabilities.

Powell's take on Williams was simple.

"His political connections appear to be in D.C." and have "no impact at all, none whatsoever. It's like having political connections in Wyoming," said Powell.

He went on to say, "I've been in politics for over 20 years [and] I've never heard of him."