Harlem State Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV may challenge U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel in a race for the congressional seat Rangel has held for nearly 40 years but once belonged Powell’s father.
Powell, 47, said he is launching an exploratory committee to see whether he has any chances to win the seat if he runs against the embattled Rangel.
"It's no secret I'm interested," Powell said.
He has been fund raising since 2004 for a campaign that has yet materialized.
He is the son of the late U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a Harlem Democrat who was ousted from the House following a corruption scandal in 1967. He eventually reclaimed the seat only to have it taken away by Rangel in 1970.
Powell IV is anticipating Rangel, 79, to leave the seat sometime in the near future, noting his age and calls for Rangel to resign.
Powell isn’t alone in his interest for that House seat as Vince Morgan, Rangel’s ex-campaign manager, announced this week that he wil alsol run for it, even if Rangel holds on to the seat in 2010.
"I don't get this sense, at least in the leadership that there's this circling of the buzzards," said Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the state Democratic Party. "I think we have to be patient and see what the House Ethics Committee says."
Rangel failed to pay taxes on the income he earns from his vacation villa in the Dominican Republic making it ironic that he is the chairman of the Ways and means Committee, the person who has the authority to write tax laws for the country.
The Harlem Democrat also neglected to report hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of assets on his yearly disclosure forms.
"I plan to campaign vigorously as I have for every election," Rangel said in a written statement.
Powell also has some dirt. Albany police investigated him in 2004 over an incident after a night of drinking in a motel room. A 19-year-old legislative intern made an allegation that Powell sexually assaulted her.
Charges were never filed, his lawyer said, as she later took her statement back.
There is also, however, a pending case for his arrest in 2008 for driving drunk in Manhattan.
Despite his blemished past, Powell's name carries great power. In Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard is a street named after his father who was popular and well-known in the community.