Rangel, the former chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, was forced to step down from his post in 2010 and later that year he was censured by the House for ethics violations.
Just as damaging for Rangel was the redrawing of New York's 13th Congressional District after the 2010 election, from a Harlem-based, African-American-dominated district to one that now has a Hispanic majority, thanks to shedding parts of Harlem and adding other neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and parts of the Bronx.
Rangel, the "Lion of Harlem" and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he didn't put up much of a fight in 2012.
"I didn't have a campaign last time. When he told me he was running, I was in Columbia Presbyterian with a viral infection in my spine."
This time, Rangel said he's ready.
"Well, I don't have a walker. I don't have a spinal injury."
Espaillat says Rangel is emblematic of all that ills Congress.
"This is a coalition of victory that is completely convinced that Washington is broken and that at the center of that dysfunction is a gentleman called Charles Rangel," he said Saturday.
Rangel's confidence was buoyed by a nonpartisan poll last week that indicated he held a 13-point lead over Espaillat, who if elected in November would become the first member of Congress born in the Dominican Republic.
But some political analysts say it's difficult to poll in the district and feel the race is much closer. Plus, Rangel suffered the embarrassment of failing to win endorsements from President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Tea party vs. establishment battle with a twist
Rep. James Lankford easily won Oklahoma's Republican Senate primary, in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Tom Coburn. Lankford topped former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon.
Coburn's announcement in January that he would step down at the end of the year -- with two years left in his term -- sparked a competitive primary in Oklahoma to replace the conservative senator.
There were seven candidates in the race, but the contest turned into a battle between the two frontrunners: Lankford and Shannon.
For a party looking for more diversity, the 36-year old Shannon, who was the youngest speaker ever of the Oklahoma House, was an attractive choice.
He's part Native American and African-American. He was backed by such tea party heroes as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
And some national anti-establishment organizations pumped big bucks into the race in support of Shannon.
But many local tea party groups kept their distance, with some questioning Shannon's outsider credentials. In fact, Shannon's no stranger to politics. He worked for Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole and former congressman J.C. Watts before launching his own political career.
Lankford, who has risen through the ranks to become Republican Policy Committee Chairman -- the fifth-ranking House Republican -- in just two terms in Congress, was criticized by many on the right for his vote to raise the debt ceiling.
But labeling the Baptist minister with strong social conservative backing as an establishment candidate was a hard case to make.
"The job is clear," Lankford repeated throughout his victory speech -- ticking off a number of Republican prescriptions to fix the economy, including repealing Obamacare, cutting down on environmental regulation and limiting federal spending.
"I was a member of the class of 2010 in the House of Representatives. It was that class that moved Nancy Pelosi back to flying coach again," he said. "If we win in November, I pray we can do this same thing for Sen. Reid."
Conceding the race, Shannon said: "Tonight this campaign is over but our cause remains and our cause continues."
"We must get rid of Harry Reid. That means we have to send Republicans to the Senate and that Republican is James Lankford," he added.
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