Still, redistricting has increased the number of Hispanics in the new 13th District where Rangel, who is black, is running. This year is the first time Rangel is running in a Latino-majority district and Rangel's biggest challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, has drawn strong Hispanic support, not to mention aid from super PAC's opposed to Rangel. Three candidates in addition to Espaillat are running in the primary, further diluting the anti-Rangel vote. But the fact that all three challengers are black could stand to lower Rangel's support among African-Americans.
Meanwhile, critics of Rangel continue to make an issue of his ethical improprieties. In December 2010, the House of Representatives censured him for multiple ethics violations, including failing to report and pay taxes on rental income, improperly soliciting donations and improperly running a campaign office. Despite spending money on legal fees and fending off bad press over the charges in 2010, Rangel easily won his Democratic primary that September by nearly 30 percentage points and emerged victorious in November.
But, it remains to be seen whether the district's new demographics will help spell the end of Rangel's storied career on Tuesday. The winner of Tuesday's race is virtually guaranteed to win the highly-Democratic seat in November.
In addition to Utah and New York, primaries Tuesday are being held in Colorado and Oklahoma and select runoffs are taking place in South Carolina and South Dakota.