Rangel challenger says incumbent should have just 'stayed home'

NEW YORK — New York State Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (D) claimed Monday that Rep. Charles Rangel's (D-N.Y.) barnstorming of the state's 15th congressional district will work against him Tuesday.

"It's backfiring on him," Powell told The Hill while campaigning at a subway station on Broadway and 145th St. Monday evening. "People who see him tell me, 'I didn't even know there was an election. Now I have to go vote against him.' "

Powell IV is the son of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the man Rangel first defeated back in 1970 to win his congressional seat. 

"If he just stayed home, that would have been his best campaign move," said Powell, who predicted high turnout Tuesday courtesy of two open seat Assembly races taking place in the district.

Powell acknowledged that Rangel has his base of unwavering support, but suggested it comes more out of patronage than a desire for what is best for the district. 

"It's all about 'Oh, you got me an apartment 20 years ago,' or 'You got my cousin a job,'" Powell said. "The public is ready to turn the page and we'll prove it tomorrow." 

Powell, along with Rangel's other challengers, is woefully underfunded compared to the 20-term congressman, but he appeared to win at least one supporter Monday night. 

After a short conversation with Powell, Harlem resident Jim Bilodeau said he intends to come out and vote against Rangel on Tuesday. 

"No one should be in Congress for 40 years," he said. "That's just too long."