By Nigel Chiwaya
NEW YORK — State Sen. Adriano Espaillat will announce his campaign for Congress Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for a tense showdown with incumbent Rep. Charles Rangel for New York's 13th congressional district seat.
Espaillat has scheduled a 12 p.m. news conference at the United Palace, where he will begin a three-day campaign tour of the district that includes Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood and parts of the Bronx.
Espaillat, 59, suffered a narrow defeat to Rangel in a 2012, and the Washington Heights Democrat is seen by many as the strongest challenger to the 22-term Harlem congressman.
Rangel, 83, announced his re-election bid in December, telling reporters he felt healthy and expected an easy path back to Washington.
"It's not going to be a difficult election at all," Rangel said at the time.
While Rangel — nicknamed the "Lion of Lenox Avenue" — has made a name for himself representing Harlem, his 13th district now includes primarily Hispanic neighborhoods where the Dominican-American Espaillat has support.
Espaillat is already racking up endorsements for his bid.
The Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan voted to support Espaillat Wednesday night, and the New York Daily News reported that City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito plans to announce support for Espaillat on Thursday.