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.