On Tuesday night, Newark, N.J., elected its new mayor, Municipal Council member Ras Baraka—and chose a new direction for itself, the New York Times reports.
Baraka, the son of activist and poet Amiri Baraka, won approximately 54 percent of the vote, with 96 percent of the precincts reporting. His opponent, Seton Hall School of Law professor Shavar Jeffries, also a Democrat, received only 46 percent of the vote at the end of the bitter election bid.
“We are the mayor!” Baraka said while celebrating his victory, the Times reports. “The people of Newark are not for sale.”
As the New York Times notes, Baraka is a far cry from Cory Booker, who was always seen as somewhat of an outsider as mayor—a fact not eased by his Wall Street connections. Jeffries was more akin to Booker, and many were looking to this election to see if Newark residents would vote to continue down the “Booker” path or switch directions.
Obviously, they switched directions.
“Baraka’s win suggests that the Booker years didn’t vanquish the old guard,” Andra Gillespie, a professor at Emory University and author of The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark, and Post-Racial America, told the New York Times.
The new mayor’s to-do list ranges from tackling the city’s soaring murder rate (the highest in more than two decades) and its equally staggering 13 percent unemployment rate to addressing its education policy—particularly the contentious “One Newark” school-reorganization plan that Baraka supporters have been slamming.
Read more at the New York Times.