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Menendez to endorse Baraka

Senator will also back council candidates

By David Wildstein, April 06 2018 12:08 am

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez will endorse Ras Baraka for re-election to a second term as Mayor of Newark at 10:30 AM at the Essex Plaza senior housing complex.  Menendez will also endorse Baraka’s full slate of City Council candidates.

Baraka faces City Councilwoman Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins in the May 8 non-partisan election.  He was elected in 2014, after Cory Booker was elected to the U.S. Senate.

The endorsement is a win-win for both Democrats.  Baraka and his ticket pick up the backing of the state’s highest ranking Hispanic leader, and Menendez gains a valuable IOU as he looks to turn out Democrats in the November general election.

Councilman-At-Large Luis Quintana, who helped put the endorsement together, is a staunch Menendez ally.  The two go back to around 1990 when Quintana ran his first race for City Council and lost just narrowly.  He went to Menendez, then a rising star in the State Assembly, for advice.  Menendez told him to accept the results of the election and just work harder next time he ran.  Quintana has been a councilman since 1994 — and he served as acting mayor between Booker’s departure and Baraka’s election.  Quintana and Menendez remain close.

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