Says His Rivals Aren't Qualified To Lead His District

NEW YORK (CBS 2/ AP) — Scandal-scarred Congressman Charles Rangel is wasting no time getting down to the business of getting re-elected.

With 33 days left before the Democratic primary, the embattled Congressman said Thursday that he plans to turn his back on Washington – and turn his focus to his constituents.

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Rangel is seeking his 20th term. The state’s primary is Sept. 14.

“There’s no question in my mind there are people who can more than adequately represent this great and diversified district. The problem is, none of them is running in this race,” Rangel said, surrounded by cheering supporters.

The rivals include Adam Clayton Powell IV. In 1970, Rangel defeated his father, the legendary Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

Rangel remained defiant Thursday as he said he’s looking forward to defending himself at a House ethics hearing.

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The former House Ways and Means Committee chairman has been accused of using official stationary to raise money for a college center bearing his name; delaying tax payments on income on a rental unit in the Dominican Republic; failing to file his financial disclosure statements on time; and operating four rent-stabilized apartments in New York, including one he used as a campaign office.

Rangel insisted his problems wouldn’t affect the outcome of other races.  

“I refuse to believe that I’m either that important or infamous that my problems are going to interfere with any good person getting elected,” Rangel said, adding that he was sure his Democratic colleagues were serving their constituents well and that most were safely on their way to re-election.

On Wednesday, Rangel celebrated his birthday at The Plaza with 800 of his closest friends. For more on that story, click here.

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