Ras Baraka Declares He's Newark's New Mayor

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mayor-elect Ras Baraka at his election night party. (Sarah Gonzalez/WNYC)

City Councilman Ras Baraka has declared victory over former New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries in Newark's mayoral election. Baraka delivered a victory speech before the final tally was counted, but with nearly all precincts counted, he held a comfortable lead over Jeffries.

Baraka was long pegged as the front-runner, but polls had narrowed in recent weeks after a Jeffries-aligned Super-PAC poured more than a million dollars worth of outside spending into the race.

Baraka, who previously served as Deputy Mayor in the administration of Sharpe James, made his name as Cory Booker's fiercest critic in the City Council. He's been an outspoken opponent of state-appointed Newark Public Schools superintendent Cami Anderson. 

Anderson's reform plan for the city's schools has angered residents, making it a key issue in the election. Baraka is on leave from his position as principal of Central High School.

Other prominent issues during the election included crime (the city's homicide rate has reached its highest number in nearly 25 years) and a budget deficit that may top out at more than $90 million, prompting the Christie Administration to threaten a takeover of the city's finances.

Baraka succeeds Luis Quintana, who was named interim mayor late last year after Booker won a seat in the U.S. Senate in a special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. 


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Comments [2]

Jack from Newark NJ

A bad choice. Baraka's appeal is to the uneducated, poverty stricken subculture who sadly think he will pull them out of their mess. He's a phony revolutionary who lives high on the hog at the taxpayers expense.
Probably he won't make much of a difference as the Newark schools are under state control and the police department under federal investigation. Soon, the state will take over Newark's finances due to mismanagement.

May. 14 2014 12:50 PM

What a relief that horrible charter school shill lost. Unfortunately, Baraka's plan to engage gang leaders sounds like something out of a CIA anti-Maoist insurgency guidebook as many insurgencies have been co-opted by engaging them in the political process. The problem is the gangs in Newark are not organized like an insurgency and don't have political goals like an insurgency. So good luck with that...

May. 13 2014 10:50 PM

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