Unofficial Rangel challenger has $125K on hand (which is lots more than the other challengers)

Clyde Williams. (alan.com)
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Clyde Williams, the former political director for the Democratic National Committee who is considering a run against Rep. Charlie Rangel, has $125,000 on hand in his exploratory committee, according to a source.

Rangel has more: $250,000 on hand in his campaign account, his spokesman told me yesterday. But Rangel only raised $60,000 in the last three months, compared to Williams, who raised $165,000 in 10 weeks, according to Politico.

"Most of [Williams'] money was raised over the holidays," wrote Trymaine Lee of Huffington Post, who called that "an impressive feat."

Williams' donor list indicates support, in spots, from the upper echelons of Clinton and Obama worlds: His contributors include Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to Obama, and Maggie Williams, a longtime Clinton aide who helped run the 2008 presidential campaign after the initial leadership was ousted. There's also a handful of former Rangel donors who donated to Williams.

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Williams told Politico "this was an important milestone for me."

The fund-raising is an important hurdle and Williams appears to have cleared it easily, arguably making him the most potent threat to Rangel this election cycle. But some other factors could diminish whatever financial momentum Williams has built up. The first is the accelerated election schedule, now that a federal judge moved up congressional primaries in New York to June 26. (One potential Senate candidate already used it as an excuse to bow out of a challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand.) 

The other factor is that the shape of the district is going to drastically change in redistricting and, according to Assemblyman Herman Denny Farrell, it's being done in order to protect Rangel. 

Williams hasn't officially declared his candidacy and the money raised is going into an exploratory committee. The money can be rolled over into an official congressional campaign committee should he chose to run. Williams' money on hand dwarfs what has been raised so far by other people looking to run, including banker and onetime Rangel aide Vincent Morgan and former assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV.

Morgan has $30,644 on hand, and loaned his campaign $5,000 in October.

Powell didn't raise any money but still has $36,596 left from his unsuccessful 2010 bid. He said last year that he'll only run if Rangel doesn't.