In clash for 2014 elders’ support, Baraka emerges from head-to-head with Rice

Newark African American leaders opposed to Mayor Cory Booker this weekend selected the candidate they want to support to succeed Booker.

Their choice?

South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka.

They had two main choices between them: Baraka and West Ward Councilman Ronald C. Rice.

The elders, a group including former Mayor Sharpe James, state Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-28), former Councilwoman Bessie Walker, and former Councilman Donald Bradley, picked Baraka as a consensus candidate.

Sources say Rice supporters absorbed the news unhappily. Numerous backers of the West Ward councilman told him not to accept the verdict as conclusive and urged him not to abort his effort to be mayor.

According to one source, “a lot of coversations are ongoing. The goal is to keep behind a progressive candidate.”

The same source said Rice personally would not be opposed to Baraka and sees the South Ward councilman as a viable alternative to either North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos or former Deputy U.S. Attorney Shavar Jeffries. 

"The governor still has to come to bat."
—Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, on Atlantic City.