Rangel Faces Upstart Challenge From Former Ally

Has only had four primary rivals in 40 years

By Hasani Gittens
|  Wednesday, Oct 14, 2009  |  Updated 8:57 AM EDT
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Rangel Faces Upstart Challenge From Former Ally

Rangel better get his finances in order before the 2010 Democratic primary

It may be time for Sorry Charlie to shape up or ship out.

Contentious congressman Charlie Rangel in 2010 will face a challenger to the seat he's held for nearly 40 years -- and his new foe is a former friend.

Fellow Harlem Democrat Vincent Morgan, who served as campaign director for Rangel in 2002, has announced his intention to run for the seat in the 15th Congressional District.

"It's time to think about what comes after Charlie. We need a change," Morgan told the Post.

Rangel has only faced four primary challenges since 1970, with the latest being in 2004.

His tenure has made Rangel one of the most powerful politicians in the city and country, but he is currently  involved in a sprawling ethics investigation and calls for his dethroning as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee are growing louder -- but Morgan calls the timing of this challenge a "coincidence."

"It's not about trying to tear Charlie down," said Morgan, who believes that Rangel should "take responsibility" and give up his seat if the ethics committee findings are serious enough.

Currently Morgan works as a community banker at TD Bank.

Rangel supporter and Manhattan Democratic Chairman Keith Wright said the upstart Morgan will have tough time unseating the old legend.

"He's an absolute icon," Wright told the Post, adding, if Rangel goes, "we will never see another Ways and Means chairman from this community in the next 50 or 60 years."

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