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Newark mayor re-elected, this time with establishment boost

Associated Press | 5/10/2018, 10:13 p.m.
Four years after bucking the Democratic establishment to become mayor of New Jersey's largest city, incumbent Ras Baraka earned re-election ...
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka speaks during a prayer service for New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEWARK, N.J. — Four years after bucking the Democratic establishment to become mayor of New Jersey's largest city, incumbent Ras Baraka earned re-election in a lopsided victory Tuesday with the help of some of his former detractors, including Sen. Cory Booker.

Baraka, a former school principal and son of late poet and activist Amiri Baraka, was re-elected to a second four-year term, collecting more than three-quarters of the vote against Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, who was hoping to become the city's first female mayor.

"Despite what people try to make you believe, you can see what's happening in Newark," Baraka said in a victory speech to supporters. "We never said it was perfect. ... We never said things couldn't get better, all we said was that we were moving in the right direction."

Baraka received support from Booker, a former Newark mayor who left in 2013 and won a special election to replace late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Booker supported Baraka's opponent, Shavar Jeffries, in Newark's 2014 mayoral election.

Baraka touted Newark's downtown building boom, lowering crime rate and the city's selection as one of 20 finalists to be the site of Amazon's second headquarters.

In the state's capital city of Trenton, meanwhile, the race won't be decided until next month.

Businessman Paul Perez, who also runs a nonprofit there, received the most votes of the seven candidates running for the open seat. Perez garnered nearly 29 percent of the ballots cast, followed by Democratic state Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who won about 21 percent.

But since a candidate needed more than 50 percent of the vote to earn the office outright, Perez and Gusciora will face off June 12. The winner will succeed Eric Jackson, who beat Perez for the mayoral seat in 2014 but chose not to seek re-election.

In Paterson, Andre Sayegh beat five other challengers to become mayor. He will take over from Jane Williams-Warren, who has held the post since former Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres resigned in September after pleading guilty to corruption charges. Torres is now serving a five-year prison sentence.

Adam Schneider, who had been mayor of Long Branch since 1990, lost his bid for an eighth term. Schneider was defeated by City Councilman John Pallone, whose slate of candidates also won all five council seats.

Pallone had failed to unseat Schneider in the 1994 mayoral race in the Jersey shore community, four years after Schneider first took office. He is the younger brother of Democratic New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.

Ocean City voters returned Mayor Jay Gillian to office for a third term. He easily fended off a challenge from former City Council President John Flood.

In Newton, the county seat of Sussex County in northwestern New Jersey, Mayor Wayne Levante lost a re-election bid two months after the town's council censured him for repeated a conspiracy theory that one of the survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting was a "crisis actor." -- (AP)