The move by Clyde Williams, a former aide to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama who already has $125,000 on hand, could pose a particular threat to Rangel, whose newly drawn district is more than 50 percent latino and who may face a challenge from Adraino Espaillat, a Dominican-American state senator.
Rangel’s record will inevitably be a larger part of the dialogue once the campaign gets going in earnest, in light of his sanctioning before the 2010 election for violating House ethics rules. That’s despite the fact that Rangel managed to turn the negative attention into a rallying cry in the last election among his supporters, who felt he was unfairly abused by critics from outside the district who failed to appreciate his legislative contributions and constituent services. Rangel won easily.
But the video demonstrates what associates of WIlliams say are his key attributes, and perhaps illustrates the sort of campaign he would like to run, ideally, talking about solving problems and steering clear of anything that can be turned into a personality contest by the much-better-known and still well-liked Rangel.
Clyde Williams, the former political director for the Democratic National Committee who is considering a run against Rep. Charlie Rangel, has $125,000 on hand in his exploratory committee, according to a source.
Rangel has more: $250,000 on hand in his campaign account, his spokesman told me yesterday. But Rangel only raised $60,000 in the last three months, compared to Williams, who raised $165,000 in 10 weeks, according to Politico.
Williams’ donor list indicates support, in spots, from the upper echelons of Clinton and Obama worlds: His contributors include Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to Obama, and Maggie Williams, a longtime Clinton aide who helped run the 2008 presidential campaign after the initial leadership was ousted. There’s also a handful of former Rangel donors who donated to Williams.
Williams told Politico “this was an important milestone for me.”
The fund-raising is an important hurdle and Williams appears to have cleared it easily, arguably making him the most potent threat to Rangel this election cycle. But some other factors could diminish whatever financial momentum Williams has built up. The first is the accelerated election schedule, now that a federal judge moved up congressional primaries in New York to June 26. (One potential Senate candidate already used it as an excuse to bow out of a challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand.)