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Turnout spiking in Newark’s East Ward

20-year incumbent battling in runoff

By Nikita Biryukov

The battle in Newark’s East Ward has voters out in droves.

Turnout in the ward Tuesday afternoon more closely mirrored that of May’s election, which traditionally sees at least twice the turnout a runout might, than it did runoffs in past years.

Both campaigns sought to claim those enthusiastic voters for their own. The campaign of former Newark Police Chief Anthony Campos credited the rise in turnout to their candidate’s role as the change candidate. He’s running against Augusto Amador, a five-term incumbent councilman.

Meanwhile, Amador’s campaign claimed the contrary. The votes – which Amador’s campaign estimated would be about 15% lower in number than May’s – came in early, and according to them, that suggested the voters were elderly – a demographic they put firmly in their camp.

How that turnout breaks will no doubt decide the election, but even then, the campaign will be a street-for-street battle that’s destined to come down to the wire.

Most of the Ward’s districts are considered battlegrounds, and Amador’s camp even went as far as to say that every vote is going to count – a platitude that might ring true when votes are counted later tonight.

The contest is so close that veteran operatives and elected officials from the city’s North Ward have deployed into the East Ward to aid Amador, who is running on Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s slate. Campos also supports Baraka

Their views on the turnout aside, the campaigns employed similar election day strategies. They both sought to get voters they had flagged earlier in the campaign out to the polls, and they both had droves of canvassers out on the streets.

Still, Campos had Amador squarely beat when it came to campaign signs. His were near ubiquitous, while Amador’s were relatively few and far between.

That advantage will likely be compounded by the fact that signs for the two are difficult to distinguish. They use nearly identical color schemes – white on blue and blue on white, and when Amador signs appeared, they often appeared next to signs for Campos.

At this point, only one thing’s for certain – Baraka wins no matter what.

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