Newark South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka wants former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries out of the mayor’s race, but Jeffries shows no signs of budging.
In an effort to talk Jeffries out, Baraka showed up unannounced last night at Jeffries’ South Ward residence, according to two city sources.
It was approximately 9:30 p.m.
A Jeffries sympathizer read the house call as Baraka desperation in the face of Jeffries fundraising.
Here’s the issue for Baraka: North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos (an undeclared but presumed mayoral candidate), a close ally of powerful County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, has a good organizational starting point with the city’s Latinos, who represent 34% of the city’s population. Baraka worries about two strong African-American candidates dividing Newark’s black population, which accounts for 52% of the city.
Having defeated Booker’s ally Oscar James in the 2010 municipal election and positioned himself as the city’s most ardent anti-Mayor Cory Booker leader, Baraka was an early declared candidate for mayor who earlier this month solidified the support of many elder African American leaders for the post Booker 2014 election.
But the councilman’s fundraising report this week lagged far behind the two other mayoral hopefuls. As reported by PolitickerNJ.com, Ramos led with approximately $275,000 cash on hand. Jeffries placed second with $196,000, startling those who hadn’t been paying too much attention to him.
Baraka reported just $4,000 in the bank.
When Jeffries’s wife opened the door to the couple’s home Wednesday night she saw Baraka and a Baraka confidant outside. They wanted to know if the man of the house was around. He wasn’t, so Baraka waited while Mrs. Jeffries called her husband home.
He arrived in five to ten minutes.
The two sources said the councilman told Jeffries he should get out of the 2014 mayor’s race. The African American community needs to be unified, Baraka said.
Jeffries objected. He told Baraka the councilman wants unity for himself not the city.
The men raised their voices.
A source told PolitickerNJ.com that in the midst of an increasingly animated discussion, Mrs. Jeffries asked Baraka and his confidant to leave. Her children were upstairs and upset. It was late.
He and Jeffries already have a history of standing on opposing sides. A high school principal in addition to serving as the South Ward councilman, Baraka is an outspoken critic of charter schools.
When he served as a member of the Schools Advisory Board, Jeffries advocated for charter schools as part of a broad solution to Newark’s failing schools.
Baraka led the movement against Jeffries.