While a warette is brewing in Hudson and Union County healing the wound of a fight for county chairman and a congressional seat, it’s noteworthy that Newark’s North Ward – once the site of some of New Jersey’s fiercest political battles – now appears to be the sea of tranquility.
Just four years ago, then-mayoral candidate Ras Baraka tried to get Fran Adubato, wife of the powerful North Ward political boss, fired from her job as an Essex County elections commissioner. Last night, Baraka and Adubato were both on hand at a fundraiser for Anibal Ramos, who is seeking re-election to his North Ward council seat.
Ramos seems to be at the center of the current peace that exists in Newark. Despite his support of Shavar Jeffries in 2014, Ramos has a healthy working alliance with Baraka and his running on the mayor’s slate in May.
His fundraiser, emceed by Cory Booker chief political strategist Modia Butler, had an elite guest list: Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones; Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo; Senate President Pro-Tempore Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark); Newark Assemblywomen Eliana Pintos Marin and Shanique Speight; Mayors Ted Green of East Orange and Mike Venezia of Bloomfield; Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City); and the rest of the Baraka-Ramos city council slate.
The active role Butler has played in bringing peace to Newark politics stands in sharp contrast to Pablo Fonseca, who is running the campaign of Baraka’s challenger, Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins.
Butler and Fonseca were Booker’s only two chiefs of staff during his seven years as mayor. It shows how far apart Booker and Fonseca have become, especially with Booker strongly supporting Baraka.
Fonseca has gone all in for Cheneyfield Jenkins, running his daughter for city council on that ticket.