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

Baraka endorsement of Custis called off, won’t be rescheduled

Newark Mayor will not visit Camden before Tuesday’s Democratic mayoral primary

By David Wildstein, June 03 2021 1:30 pm

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has cancelled his scheduled endorsement of Elton Custis for mayor of Camden and will not reschedule in before Tuesday’s Democratic primary, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

At the same time, U.S. Senator Cory Booker today announced his endorsement of Vic Carstarphen for mayor.  In a video, Booker urges support for the entire Camden Democratic organization line.

The Custis campaign had trumpeted a “major campaign endorsement” at 3 PM.

In a cancellation notice, the Custis campaign was less than forthcoming since they know Baraka has no plans to appear in Camden prior to the primary.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, today’s event at Nuanced Cafe has been cancelled,” the campaign media advisory said. “We hope to have an update on the event in the near future.”

Baraka, widely viewed as a potential candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2025, was hoping to expand his statewide base.

When he ran for mayor of Newark in 2014, Camden County Democrats sided with his opponent, former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries.

Carstarphen, a local basketball legend, became mayor last month following the resignation of Frank Moran.  He has the endorsement of the Camden County Democrats in his bid for a full four-year term.

Custis, a member of the Camden City School District Advisory Board, and City Councilwoman Felicia Reyes-Morton are challenging Carstarphen in the primary.

The primary is tantamount to election in a city that delivered Joe Biden an 89%-10% victory in the 2020 presidential election.  Less than 3% of the voters in Camden are registered Republicans and the last Republican mayor of Camden was Frederick von Nieda, who left office in 1936.

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