Charlie Rangel Survives Primary (Despite Being 82 Years Old, Having Been Censured, And Being 82 Years Old)

Chances are Congressman Charlie Rangel -- at 82 years old -- is heading back to Congress.
Chances are Congressman Charlie Rangel -- at 82 years old -- is heading back to Congress.

Longtime Manhattan Congressman Charlie Rangel can breathe a sigh of relief -- the 82-year-old Democrat has survived what was expected to be the fight of his political life.

Rangel, who fought in the Korean War before getting elected to Congress (42 years ago), came out on top in yesterday's five-person Democratic primary -- and that's after he was formally censured by the House of Representatives for multiple ethical violations stemming from -- among other ethical issues -- his failure to pay taxes on income he received from a rental "villa" he owns in the Dominican Republic (that photo to the right is Charlie enjoying his villa).

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the unofficial final numbers have Rangel with 45.7 percent of the vote to former state Senator Adriano Espaillat's 39.1 percent. Former Bill Clinton aide Clyde Williams received 10.5 percent, while retired executive Joyce Johnson received 3.2 percent. Former model Craig Schley finished at the bottom of the heap with 1.5 percent of the vote.

Yesterday's primary was the first time Rangel's had to face voters since getting censured -- and since the 2010 census had him redistricted into New York's 13th Congressional District, which is 55-percent Hispanic, an obvious benefit for Espaillat.

"There've been all kinds of questions asked of me in the last few minutes," Rangel told supporters last night. "Most of them is 'How do you feel?' And I cannot find words to describe that."

In addition to his ethical issues -- and redistricting dilemma -- Rangel had trouble raising money for what is now his 22nd re-election campaign. Fellow Democrats -- who'd received favors from Rangel in the past -- ponied up the cash to fuel his primary push.

Despite Rangel's new district being predominantly Hispanic, it's still a Democratic stronghold. In other words, Rangel's likely a shoo-in in the general election.

So, congratulations, New York -- chances are you're sending an 82-year-old tax cheat back to the House of Representatives.

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