Newark mayor Ras Baraka won a stunning landslide victory for re-election to a second term on Tuesday, taking 77% of the vote against Central Ward councilwoman Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins.
Baraka carried all five wards by massive margins as he beat Cheneyfield Jenkins by 15,176 votes – 21,490 to 6,314.
Baraka was elected in 2014 by a 54%-46% margin against former deputy state Attorney General Shavar Jeffries. He won 71% of the vote in the South Ward, his political base, while carrying the winning 59% in the Central and 62% in the Ward West. That offset Jeffries’ 71% in the North Ward and 69% in the East Ward.
This time, Baraka had the backing of the same North and East Ward leaders that supported Jeffries and has the endorsement of U.S. Senator Booker, his sparring partner when Booker was mayor and Baraka served as a city councilman. He had support from U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Gov. Phil Murphy, Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Booker political advisor Modia Butler, and the rest of the county’s Democratic political establishment.
Cheneyfield Jenkins lost her base, the Central Ward, by a wide margin.
His 2018 percentage was the highest of any Newark mayor in a contested race since the direct elections began in 1954. But turnout was down considerably from the 44,951 in 2014 and Cory Booker still holds the record for the best margin: 21,797 in 2006.
CITY COUNCIL RACES
Baraka’s four running mates for City Council At-Large easily won re-election on Tuesday: Luis Quintana was the top vote-getter with 16,475, followed by Mildred Crump (16,217), Carlos Gonzalez (12,912) and Eddie Osborne (11,679). Two former councilmembers who sought a comeback on the Cheneyfield Jenkins slate lost badly: Bessie Walker (5,202) and Hector Corchado (4,252). A young hip hop artist mounting an independent campaign, Dupree “Doitall” Kelly, won an impressive 3,430 votes.
The mayor’s running mates in the North and South Ward claimed victory on Tuesday, but candidates in the Central, East and West wards are headed to a June 12 runoff.
North Ward councilman Anibal Ramos thrashed his closest rival by an 80%-13% margin in a landslide re-election victory. South Ward councilman John Sharpe James, the son of the former mayor, defeated Terrance Bankston by an unimpressive but solid 58%-30% margin.
The East Ward race will go to a runoff. Longtime councilman Augusto Amador received 43% of the vote; he’ll face former Newark Police Chief Anthony Campos, who won 35% and finished 257 votes behind the incumbent. Campos was also a Baraka supporter.
In the Central Ward, Baraka running mate LaMonica Mciver, won 41% and will face Shawn X. McCray in the runoff. McCray edged out Cheneyfield Jenkins’ running mate, Rashon Hason, by 110 votes, 17%-14%.
In the West Ward, incumbent Joseph McCullum received just 31% and will face a runoff against Mecca Keyes (28%), the only successful member of the Cheneyfield Jenkins ticket. McCullum ran only 98 votes ahead of his rival in a six-candidate field.