Rep. Charles Rangel, the longtime New York Democrat, has had his share of major challenges during his four-plus decades in office. The biggest of these, of course, was being found guilty on 11 ethics charges in late 2010, which led to a near primary loss to state Sen. Adriano Espaillat in 2012. But the congressman has consistently hung around, often beating political challengers by massive margins.
Harlem Pastor Michael Walrond, a Democrat who recently filed to challenge Rangel in the primary for his 13th District seat, would like to change that. The only problem is, Walrond doesn’t live in Harlem. According to his paperwork, uncovered by NY1, Walrond doesn’t even live in New York. He lives in Edgewater, N.J.
Walrond isn’t going in totally blind. His Harlem church gives him a large support base, he’s a close ally of the Rev. Al Sharpton, and carries political clout in the city. For his part, Walrond tells NY1 that he plans on imminently leaving his Jersey residence for Harlem. But it’s hard to imagine Rangel not having a field day with a challenger who is currently living not just out of district, but out of state.
This isn’t at all the first time someone’s tried to run for a seat while living outside the district. In 2012, at least eight candidates for the House in Maryland ran in districts they didn’t live in. One of them won.
Rangel isn’t necessarily safely assured of getting that 23rd term. But the biggest challenge is likely to come from another run by Espaillat, not from New Jersey.