What Rangel's campaign is, other than an inconvenience
At times, Rep. Charlie Rangel's public attitude toward his own re-election prospects has verged on outright indifference, as he dared reporters to ask President Obama if he's supporting him, publicly declared his assumption that Andrew Cuomo would do so, and recounted his confrontation with a Times editorial board member over their "ridiculous" decision to endorse one of his rivals for the second election in a row.
He's not too bothered by anything to do with the campaign, as far as he's letting on.
Still, the result of the election will say something significant about the district, beyond what its voters think of the idea of returning Rangel, who is now 82
71, to office.
This election is also about whether the mostly African-American base that has elected Rangel for four decades has finally ceded ground to the district's Latino voting population which, in this newly drawn district, is a majority.
That will certainly be one conclusion to draw if that majority turns out to elect State Senator Adriano Espaillat, a Dominican-American who has never gotten any major validation from outside that community.
There's a generation element, too: The Times and Daily News have both endorsed Clyde Williams, a smart, well-funded Washington operative who is banking on his ability to win support by conveying competence and energy without ever explicitly calling Rangel's into doubt.
Williams, like Rangel, is African-American. He is 50 years old.
Other candidates in the race include former district leader Joyce Johnson, who was endorsed by the Times when she challenged Rangel in 2010, and Craig Schley.