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Where’s Steele? Stumping for Rangel’s Long-Shot Opponent

Amid questions about his political relevance, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is set to headline a Harlem rally and fundraiser for the opponent of embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). The event comes at the end of Steele’s “Fire Pelosi” bus tour, which hit many safe districts and lower-profile races.

A day after rallying with Rhode Island’s tiny Republican Party, Steele is scheduled to visit New York City on Tuesday afternoon to stump for Michel Faulkner, a local pastor and Republican challenger in New York’s 15th district.

Rangel, a 20-term Congressman, survived a crowded Democratic primary last month and is widely expected to dominate Faulkner on Election Day. A Republican campaign operative conceded last month that even President Ronald Reagan couldn’t win a head-to-head matchup against Rangel in the 15th district, which includes Harlem and Spanish Harlem and is among the most Democratic districts in the nation.

Steele faced questions about what he’s been up to Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“No, I’m not irrelevant,” Steele said. “We’re keeping pace with the Democrats right now.

“I’ve said from the very beginning, I would be a different kind of chairman because this is a different time for us, for our party,” he continued. “I wanted us to play on all 50 states. I wanted us to be out in the communities. I wanted a grass-roots, bottom-up party that was focused on what the people want out there.”

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