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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Democratic aides say the end may be near for Charles Rangel.

House Democratic aides say the end may be near for Charles Rangel.

Republicans plan to bring to the floor this week a resolution calling for Rangel’s ouster as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Democratic aides say defections from vulnerable Democrats may give the GOP enough votes to prevail.

“It’s going to be very hard for us and others to vote against this,” said a senior aide to one vulnerable Democrats.

If all House members vote and all 178 Republicans vote to remove Rangel, the GOP would need 39 Democrats to turn against Rangel to win the vote.

An aide to another vulnerable Democrat said embattled members — known collectively as “frontline Democrats” because of a party program to help with their re-election efforts — will have no choice but to vote to remove Rangel if the measure comes to the House floor.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday added her name to a short but lengthening list of Democratic lawmakers who have said publicly that they plan to vote against Rangel.

“She will be supporting the resolution and we’re donating everything we’ve gotten from him to veterans organizations,” Pia Carusone, Giffords’s chief of staff, told POLITICO Tuesday afternoon.

Already, Democratic Reps. Paul Hodes (N.H.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Gene Taylor (Miss.), Mike Quigley (Ill.), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.) have said publicly that they plan to join Republicans in voting to remove Rangel.

And the perilous position Democrats face in November is hardly the only factor.

"The more glaring factor is that they found him guilty of an ethical violation," the aide said, referring to last week’s ethics committee finding that Rangel violated House rules by taking corporate-funded trips to the Caribbean. "Frontline Democrats are vulnerable to the slightest things and being associated with someone accused of an ethical violation is not what we need."

The aide said that it would behoove Democrats if Rangel would step down on his own without members having to take the vote. -Read more at POLITICO

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