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Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Baraka backs Gusciora for re-election

Trenton mayor is up for second term in next week’s nonpartisan election

By Joey Fox, November 04 2022 2:09 pm

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced today that he’s endorsing Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora for re-election, four days out from the November 8 nonpartisan contest in New Jersey’s capital city.

“I support the re-election of Mayor W. Reed Gusciora as he is a trailblazer having served over 22 years in the legislature and having sponsored critical legislation that has created equitable outcomes for so many,” Baraka said in his endorsement letter. “As our state is in the process of moving past the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged so many of our urban centers, a true leader like Reed is imperative to Trenton’s future.”

Gusciora, a former assemblyman, was first elected mayor by a narrow margin in 2018. This year, he faces two sitting members of the city council in his bid for a second term: Council President Kathy McBride and Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, both of whom have fought incessantly with Gusciora’s administration and made a series of offensive remarks.

Thanks in no small part to that history of rancor, Gusciora has corralled a number of key Democrats into his corner, among them Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton), U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and Gov. Phil Murphy. Baraka, who overwhelmingly won re-election earlier this year, is the latest prominent Black politician to back Gusciora – notable given that Gusciora is white, unlike most of his city’s residents.

If no one takes a majority of the vote in the initial round of voting, the two top finishers will advance to a runoff. Six of Trenton’s seven city council seats are open, meaning that no matter what happens in the mayoral race, the city’s long-troubled government will look very different next year.

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