RANGEL’S PRIMARY CHALLENGER

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Rep. Charles Rangel, the Harlem Democratic lion who is under an ethics investigation for his taxes, will be challenged in a primary next year by a former aide. The district covers a swath of the Upper West Side that’s mostly north of West 89th Street.

But Vince Morgan, Rangel’s former campaign director, says the timing of his Democratic primary campaign is purely coincidental.

“The first question people ask is, ‘Did you decide to run because he’s having these problems, or were you planning all along?’” Morgan said. “I was planning this all along. Almost three years now.”

Rangel, who chairs the powerful Ways and Means Committee that writes tax law, is still seeking re-election. He was first elected in 1971 as an insurgent candidate and is the dean of New York’s Congressional delegation.

Morgan, a community banker at TD Bank, wants to focus on constituent services and economic development in lieu of Rangel’s national stature.

“In order to create legislative responses to the needs of the people you represent, you’ve got to be tied to those people and their day-to-day issues and problems,” Morgan said. “The only way to do that is to effectively communicate with them the constituent work you do in your office.”

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