Now that Newark Mayor Cory Booker has his eye fully trained on the U.S. Senate, local attention will turn to who will replace him. but what happens if he wins. One person looking to succeed Booker is Newark councilman Ras Baraka, who told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that if Booker wins the Senate seat and leaves Newark earlier than planned, that he would absolutely run in a special election to fill the void and not wait for the 2014 election.
There have been some reports that Baraka has not been able to raise a significant amount of money for his campaign, but Baraka dismisses the claims.
“We have a lot more money than $5000. I think that’s pundits trying to push deadline,” he said. “In any event, I think this campaign, this election is going to be won face to face on the ground through people, visiting and talking to residents of the city through grassroots campaign. I think we have a better, stronger organization than any of our components, and our record in this community for over 20 years speaks for itself and I think the community will recognize that.”
When asked to judge Booker’s time as mayor, Baraka noted that the mayor was already looking beyond Newark from the moment he steeped into office.
“I think that affected his ability to govern and manage the city effectively,” said Baraka, who added that Booker’s media savvy brought national attention and business to the city.
“He allowed people all over the country, the world even, to look into Newark and his politics here and brought business to this community,” Baraka. “I think it’s time now to transform that and to really work in these neighborhoods and roll up our sleeves and become committed to these systemic problems that we have in our city that can’t be solved through TV and through “Meet the Press.”
It’s no secret that Booker has been on friendly terms with the Republican governor. Baraka said that he would work with whomever is governor, but made his preference clear.
“Hopefully, he won’t be the governor, but if he is, we absolutely, positively have to work with Gov. Christie and make sure that the city gets what it needs to move forward, and I honestly believe when Newark is better, the state of New Jersey is better.”