By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
NEW YORK - In a year of political battles that tire our souls comes a potential epic fight for a coveted congressional seat that will capture the area - and most likely the nation's - attention.
It looks like Adam Clayton Powell IV - a New York state assemblyman and son of the legendary congressman who held the Harlem congressional seat before it was wrestled away from his father by Charles Rangel - will be taking on the embattled Rangel in the Democratic primary.
Rangel is in political trouble because of a number of questionable actions he's recently taken. But without a strong challenge in the primary (the district is heavily Democratic) it's unlikely he'd be unseated. Powell - with his almost equal name recognition - represents that threat.
Rangel heads the House Ways and Means Committee. But he has - at least temporarily - relinquished the reigns of the powerful committee because of an ethics probe of his accepting corporate trips to the Caribbean. He's also been under scrutiny for questionable income tax filings and for expensing an apartment as part of a district office.
Powell has his own legal woes. He was recently nabbed for driving under the influence.
If all other things were equal, Rangel's age - he's 79 - might work against him. With that age comes experience as a crafty politician. But this could be the political fight of his life. And the fight for his political life.
Powell's father, the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., represented the district from 1945-1971. But then he was unseated - by Rangel - over allegations of corruption. In spite of that - he may be best remembered as a trailblazing congressman who fought for civil rights and other important legislation. He was one of only two black members of Congress - and he successfully challenged a ban on black members in congressional facilities. He also fought for important civil rights legislation - and was considered instrumental in the passage of a law that made segregation of public schools illegal.
It's ironic that the elder Powell was brought down by scandal - and that his successor - who is now being challenged by his son - is being weighed down by a similar political albatross around his neck.
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