Newark councilman forms exploratory committee to run for mayor in 2014
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Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 3:25 PM
NEWARK — If no one else challenges Cory Booker for mayor of Newark in 2014, Ras Baraka says he’ll do it.
The 42-year-old South Ward councilman, long a Booker critic, said today he is forming a committee to explore running for mayor if no one formidable challenges the two-term incumbent.
“After the state of the city address, it has become clear to me that the mayor has no intentions of working with the council or moving the city forward,” Baraka said.
“His agenda,” said Baraka, “is about privatizing our water and closing our schools and he seems not to be interested in any other leadership except his own.”
The mayor did not comment, but an administration official questioned Baraka’s true intentions.
“He has too much to lose,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly for the mayor.
The long-strained relations between the council and the mayor deteriorated to an all-out battle at Booker’s State of the City speech last week. Booker publicly scolded the council over the budget, spurring Baraka and Councilwoman Mildred Crump to walk off the stage in protest.
Baraka, in his recent “State of the South Ward” address, called for a more equitable arrangement with the Port Authority, a greater allocation of resources to youth programs, and a new approach to city violence that identified crime as a public health issue.
Booker has not decided officially to run for a third term, and could be weighing a run for U.S. Senate or governor. But if he does run for mayor, Baraka said he will be there to challenge the two-term incumbent.
“I am not adverse to supporting others to run but I can’t continue to watch folks play games, have secret meetings and not be forthcoming. No one has stepped up, so I will,” he said today. “The mayor cannot be allowed to run unopposed.”
In 2010, Baraka upset the Booker machine by defeating council incumbent Oscar Sidney James. He is also principal of Central High School, a post he would have to leave if he became mayor.
Posted by Admin on Friday, March 22nd, 2013 @ 8:04AM
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