*Adam Clayton Powell IV announced Monday he would seek the House seat that his famous father once held and challenge veteran Rep. Charles Rangel, who stepped down last month as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee amid ethics charges.
Powell, 47, said he honored Rangel’s 40 years of service but that it was time for new leadership for the 15th District, which covers much of Manhattan’s Harlem and Upper West Side neighborhoods.
“Everyone knows change is coming. The question is when?” Powell told reporters at a news conference at a Harlem intersection he referred to as the “lucky corner.” The primary is Sept. 14.
Powell’s late father, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., was a Harlem pastor and well-known political figure who represented the district in Congress from 1944 until 1970. He was New York’s first black congressman.
Powell Jr. was removed from office in 1967 amid allegations he had misused congressional funds. [See clip below.] He ran again and won the seat in 1968 before losing to Rangel in 1970.
As previously reported, Rangel relinquished his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee in March after being admonished by a congressional ethics panel for taking corporate trips to the Caribbean in violation of House rules. Rangel has said he was stepping aside only temporarily.
“The fact that he is no longer chairman of Ways and Means is significant. If he were still chairman, I might not be running,” said Powell, who already lost a primary challenge to Rangel in 1994. He denied he was seeking the seat as a way to avenge his father’s legacy.
Below, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. takes his case to the Supreme Court in Nov. 1968, as the House strips him of his seat in Congress.