“I have always believed that my highest calling is to serve the powerless and to speak for the voiceless. I will bring that same energy and drive as your representative in Washington, D.C.”
--Michel Faulkner, Republican Candidate, 15th District of New York
Thus says candidate Faulkner on his web site—a former pro football player turned pastor who is running against the ethically-challenged 40-year Democrat representative from this Harlem district, the boisterous, salty-mouthed Charles Rangel. Talk about polar opposites. Faulkner has dedicated his post-football life to ministering to others; Rangel has dedicated his to the altar of political power and the perks that come with it.
In a recent interview with Sean Hannity, Faulkner spoke passionately yet with a grounded, common-sense articulation about his district’s voters and how tired they are of the welfare mentality. That is, many are to the point where they would rather work than to keep taking handouts from the government. If Faulkner is right that this is a prevailing sentiment in Harlem, it could mean a resounding victory for him in a few weeks. His campaign is focused on what needs to be done to help small businesses out of the regulatory shackles that currently bind them and create a climate for job growth.
The other side of it is that Rangel has also given the voters much with which to be fed up. Rangel has been feeding himself too well and apparently fraudulently at the public trough for a long time now. Only the fact that his party controls the House has prevented his trial on ethics violations from proceeding prior to the election. Merely putting it off until afterward may not be enough to save him.
This election, although not as prominent as several of the Senate races involving Tea Party candidates, will be an interesting one to watch on Election Night as a potential bellwether for how much of a Republican landslide may occur. Also, this one will show whether enough traditional Democrat voters, particularly African-Americans, will vote for a black Republican candidate who promises real, not illusory change.