In the sixteen elections for Mayor of Newark, no candidate has ever won without assembling a full-slate of candidates for City Council. That’s good news for Mayor Ras Baraka’s bid for a second term – his opponent, Councilwoman Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins, fielded just three candidates for the four At-Large council seats, and has no candidates in the South Ward.
Newark changed their charter in 1954 to allow for the direct election of a Mayor and a nine-member City Council. Before that, the city elected five Commissioners who picked a mayor from amongst themselves.
Baraka is running with eight incumbent councilmembers and LaMonica McIver, who is seeking the Central Ward seat now held by Cheneyfield Jenkins. (That’s the seat the Cory Booker won in 1998, ousting an incumbent and launching his political career.) Rashon Hasan is running with Cheneyfield Jenkins.
The South Ward seat, which Cheneyfield Jenkins declined to play in, belongs to John Sharpe James, the son of the former mayor. James’ main opponent is Terrance Bankston, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for an At-Large seat four years ago on Shavar Jeffries’ ticket.