11:43 am Sep. 11, 20121
Here's a campaign flier from State Senator Adriano Espaillat attacking his Democratic primary challenger and fellow Dominican lawmaker, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, for endorsing Rep. Charlie Rangel in the newly drawn, majority-Latino congressional seat in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
"When Guillermo Linares had the chance to help send the first Latino from Northern Manhattan to Congress," the flier says, "...He chose instead to betray us."
Rangel's office emailed the flier to reporters yesterday, and the congressman is holding a press conference today to denounce it.
A spokesman for Espaillat confirmed they are responsible for the flier.
When Espaillat ran against Rangel in the Democratic primary this past June, he spoke openly, but selectively, about the possibility of becoming the first Dominican member of Congress in the United States. Before the campaign had officially begun, Espaillat also invoked racial themes when he told an audience in Harlem that "crackers" had unfairly drawn congressional lines, and there could be a "nuclear political war" between African-Americans and Latinos if they were forced to run in the same congressional district uptown.
He later toned down the ethnic appeal towards the end of the campaign, when newspaper endorsement interviews were on the horizon, but still lost the endorsements of The Times and Daily News to Clyde WIlliams, a former aide to Bill Clinton and President Obama, who was making his first run for office.
Espaillat and Linares have battled for pre-eminence in the Dominican community for more than two decades. Espaillat lost to Linares in a City Council race in 1991, but later eclipsed his rival by becoming the first Dominican legislator to serve in the Assembly, and then the State Senate.
UPDATE: Espaillat spokesman Ibrahim Khan emailed to say, "On a day when even President Obama and Governor Romney chose to put politics aside, Mr. Linares, Congressman Rangel, and their political allies are out campaigning in a last ditch effort to gain support. The real issue of outrage in the community is that Linares and Rangel made a backroom political deal, with Linares endorsing Rangel and, in exchange, Rangel endorsing Linares and his daughter. Their petty attempts to get publicity two days before the Primary are disingenuous, as is their overt politicking on September 11th.”
UPDATE: At a press conference earlier, Rangel called on Espaillat to reject the flyer, telling reporters, "I would hope that the Senator would join with me in rejecting any suggestion that a Dominican-American who supported my re-election was somehow a traitor to the Dominican-American community."
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