The New Jersey Globe projects that Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has won a third term in office, defeating challenger Sheila Montague by a huge margin in the state’s largest city.
With 88% of election districts reporting, Baraka led Montague 12,368 votes to 2,547, an 83-17% margin. Assuming those results hold, it would be the largest margin of victory for a Newark mayoral candidate since the city began holding direct elections for mayor in 1954.
Baraka, a former councilman from the city’s South Ward, was first elected in 2014 after former Mayor Cory Booker resigned to take office as a U.S. Senator. That race was an intense and close one, and Baraka only narrowly defeated former deputy state Attorney General Shavar Jeffries by a 54-46% margin.
Baraka’s 2018 re-election was far less of a nailbiter, with the incumbent mayor defeating Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins 77-23%. This year, few saw the mayor as remotely threatened by Montague, whose only prior political experience was several failed campaigns for school board.
Five members of Baraka’s slate, including all four at-large council candidates and North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, won unopposed, automatically giving Baraka’s allies a majority on the council; four other Baraka endorsees drew at least one opponent, with one winning, one losing, and two likely headed to a runoff.
Now that he’s secured a third term, Baraka can look towards his political future. Some have speculated that the mayor may try to run for governor in 2025, when Gov. Phil Murphy is term-limited, though such discussions remain only hypothetical.