From Mississippi to Harlem, Barbour Endorses Rangel Foe

Posted October 6, 2010 at 3:04pm

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour jumped into Harlem politics Wednesday.

Barbour, who heads the Republican Governors Association and is believed to have 2012 presidential aspirations, formally endorsed Harlem pastor Michel Faulkner (R) in the race to unseat 20-term incumbent Rep. Charlie Rangel (D).

It’s unclear what attracted Barbour to the race in New York’s 15th district, which includes Harlem and Spanish Harlem. He is the first nationally known conservative to back Faulkner publicly.

A message left with the governor’s political action committee was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Republicans and Democrats agree that Rangel, having survived a crowded Democratic primary last month, will dominate Faulkner in the general election set in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.

The Faulkner campaign, which had also been courting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), announced the Barbour endorsement Wednesday, referring to the governor as a “Republican heavyweight.”

“Today, Haley PAC is proud to announce its endorsement of Michel Faulkner for Congress,” Barbour said in a statement. “Rev. Faulkner is exactly the type of representative who is needed in Congress to address the economic challenges facing America. He is a man of integrity who has built a reputation as an outstanding leader in serving those facing financial struggles in the 15th District of New York.”

The endorsement was accompanied by a $1,000 check, according to Faulkner spokeswoman Jillian Plomin.