The three of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s City Council candidates facing runoff elections are getting aid from someone a bit higher up on the state’s political pecking order.
State Senate President Pro Tempore Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) said on Thursday that she if “as engaged as I can possibly be” ahead of the June 12 runoffs.
“If a candidate calls me to help them walk or to help raise money, I’m there 100% to help their efforts and make sure that we finish off and elect the entire Baraka slate,” said Ruiz, whose district includes Newark.
While Baraka’s candidates easily took the at-large council seats, as well as those in the North and South Wards, his candidates in the East, West and Central Wards failed to secure a majority in the first round of voting.
In the East Ward, longtime councilman Augusto Amador, who was the top vote-getter in early May and ran on the Baraka ticket, faces former Newark Police Chief Anthony Campos. Campos also supported Baraka for mayor.
Baraka’s candidate in the Central Ward won by the largest margin of any candidate to see a runoff. LaMonica Mciver took 41% of the vote there, while runoff challenger Shawn X. McCray took 17%.
In the West ward, incumbent councilman Joseph McCullum will face Mecca Keyes, the only member of the Cheneyfield Jenkins ticket to make it to the runoff.
“I believe I am scheduled to walk very soon,” Ruiz said. “I don’t have that before me, but I think my first stop will be in the East Ward.”