Meanwhile, New York’s leading black Democrats grappled with what they said felt like twin calamities: the temporary withdrawal of Rep. Charles Rangel of Harlem as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and Mr. Paterson’s ongoing travails.
“There’s a real sense of shock right now regarding the governor and regarding the congressman,” said Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, an ally of the governor and the Manhattan Democratic chairman, in a telephone interview. “Some people might say there are conspiratorial theories moving around. People have to catch their breath.” He added, “People are saying there is no way, no how, that this is an accident that people are trying to get rid of our governor and trying to get rid of our congressman.”