The Rangel-Paterson Strategy

Elizabeth Benjamin, New York Daily News, October 5, 2009

Jacob Gershman floated a fascinating trial balloon late Friday that involved a mid-term resignation by embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel in order to provide an exit strategy for another equally embattled former Harlem Democrat, Gov. David Paterson.

{snip}

Rangel, who is very close to Paterson’s father, Basil, (they accounted for two of Harlem’s storied Gang of Four, the others being former Manhattan BP Percy Sutton and former Mayor David Dinkins), would step down, enabling Paterson to call a special election.

Next, Manhattan’s Democratic leaders, led by new Chairman Keith Wright, would tap Paterson to run for Rangel’s seat, clearing the way for AG Andrew Cuomo to run for governor and causing Democrats from Montauk to Buffalo to breathe a big sigh of relief.

Voila! Everyone–from Barack Obama on down–is happy. {snip}

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Also, this solution assumes Paterson would be able to hold on to Rangel’s seat in 2010 and, perhaps more of a challenge, in 2012 after the district’s lines are redrawn. It has been widely anticipated this would create a so-called “Dominican seat” to better reflect the changing nature of the district.

{snip}

This all hinges on Rangel’s willingness to give up his seat, which isn’t something he appears interested in entertaining–no matter how many ethics probes he faces. One veteran Harlem Democrat flatly ruled that out altogether, unless House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bumps Rangel from his Ways & Means chairmanship.

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