Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is accusing an Essex County Sheriff candidate of fabricating an endorsement in advance of tomorrow’s Democratic primary
John Arnold, a former deputy Newark police director, used Baraka’s image and a fictitious quote on a campaign flyer touting an endorsement from the popular mayor.
But Baraka told the New Jersey Globe he is supporting the 11-term incumbent, Armando Fontoura, for the Democratic nomination.
“It has been brought to my attention that there has been speculation regarding which candidates I support in Tuesday’s election,” said Baraka. “This is partially due to unauthorized literature that was distributed without my knowledge by candidate John Arnold.”
Baraka says that Fountoura is one of the candidates who has his “unwavering support” in the June 8 Democratic primary, along with Gov. Phil Murphy, State Sens. Ronald Rice (D-Newark) and Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), Assemblywomen Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Newark), Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark), and Shanique Speight (D-Newark), and Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Nutley).
Fontoura also picked up the endorsements of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12 on Monday.
“He is a voice of reason which we can all rally around,” said James Stewart, the Newark FOP President. “Sheriff Fontoura has continuously and unflinchingly demonstrated his superior leadership skills in many vital police and community relations issues of mutual concern.”
Stewart said that Fontoura has “saved Newark and Essex County taxpayers untold millions of dollars in serving as a regional public safety resource for law enforcement and emergency management events and incidents”.
“He is the first to lend a helping hand to all Essex County municipal police departments. He is the first to take a prominent role in police-community relations.” Stewart stated. “He is the mainstay in securing the safety and security of all Essex County residents.”
Fontoura has the backing of Gov. Phil Murphy, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), former Gov. Richard Codey, and Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr.
Arnold, who served as captain of detectives for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, is also the pastor of the Temple of Refuge Church in Newark.
Fontoura has run against Arnold once before. In 2012, he beat him by 25,835 votes, 62%-19%, in a four-candidate primary.
The 10-term sheriff also fended off a primary challenge in 2009, defeating two challengers with 80% of the vote.
Barry Jackson is also seeking the Democratic nomination.
Two Republicans are competing in the June primary: Nicholas Pansini and Maureen Edelson.
Pansini has the backing of the Essex County Republican organization. Edelson, a former Montclair council candidate, is running on a slate headed by gubernatorial candidate Hirsh Singh.