Senator Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark who has projected an upbeat political presence at a deeply polarized time, entered the 2020 race for president on Friday, embarking on a campaign to become the second black president in American history.
Mr. Booker, in a morning email sent to supporters, drew on the spirit of the civil rights movement as he laid out his vision for a country that will “channel our common pain back into our common purpose.”
“The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it,” Mr. Booker said in an accompanying video:
California Attorney General Kamala Harris made history Tuesday night when she won the Senate race and became the second Black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
Harris, an Oakland native, will replace Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, who intends to retire 23 years as a California senator. The last African-American woman elected to the senate was Carol Moseley Braun (D, Illinois) who served one term, from 1993-1999.
The Howard University graduate’s platforms included criminal justice, abortion rights and immigration reform. She beat out fellow Democrat, Rep. Loretta Sanchez for the hotly contested race.
A career prosecutor, Harris, whose mother is Indian and father is Jamaican, not only becomes the second Black woman in the senate, she’s also the first Indian woman in the position. For her run, Harris won endorsements from President Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown.
In an interview with ESSENCE earlier this year, Harris, 52, pledged “to ensure our children have a fair shot in school and in life by passing universal prekindergarten legislation.”
“This issue is important to all, but for Black women, poor women, working women, it’s about economic empowerment,” she added.
Harris joins two African-American men in the 100-member Senate: Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey). “Kamala is one of the most exciting leaders in the country right now,” Booker told ESSENCE. “She brings an incredible combination of life experiences and skills that are sorely needed on issues like prison reform, empowering victims, addiction and violence. And she has actually run [and managed] something, and shown herself to be a creative problem solver.”
NEWARK — Mayor Ras J. Baraka came into office last summer practically taunting his doubters. “Yeah,” he said in his inaugural address, “we need a mayor that’s radical.”
They had predicted that he would be anti-business and anti-police, that Mr. Baraka, the son of Newark’s most famous black radical, would return a city dogged by a history of riots and white flight to division and disarray.
A year later, Mr. Baraka is showering attention on black and Latino neighborhoods, as he promised he would. But he is also winning praise from largely white leaders of the city’s businesses and institutions downtown. He struggles with crime — all mayors here do — but he has also championed both the Black Lives Matter movement and the police, winning praise for trying to ease their shared suspicion.
The radical now looks more like a radical pragmatist.
Newark is still stubbornly two cities: gleaming new glass towers downtown, block after block of abandoned plots and relentless poverty in its outer wards, with five killings within 36 hours this month. But for all the expectations that Mr. Baraka would divide the city, those on both sides of the spectrum say that he has so far managed to do what his predecessors could not: make both Newarks feel as if he is their mayor.
Development plans are reaching into long-ignored neighborhoods. Projects stalled for years are moving forward, and new industries are taking root: a vertical farm, an incubator space and an investment fund for technology start-ups.
Mr. Baraka closed a $93 million hole in the city budget without layoffs. In June, Gov. Chris Christie agreed to start returning the schools to local control — something the governor had denied Cory A. Booker, Mr. Baraka’s more polished predecessor. The governor had rejected Mr. Baraka’s bid for control a year ago, deeming him “kind of hostile.”
“He’s like the local boy who grew up and said, ‘I need to fix my city.’ How do you not get inspired by that? How do you not root for a guy like that?” said Joseph M. Taylor, the chief executive of Panasonic Corporation of North America, which was lured to Newark by Mr. Booker. “I didn’t think anybody could top Cory Booker, but if anybody can, it’s Mayor Baraka.”
Not everyone is on board. Some local politicians, even those who support Mr. Baraka, say the positive reception partly reflects the low expectations set during a nasty election last spring, in which outside groups spent at least $5 million trying to defeat him. They say the talent pool at City Hall is shallow, and that Mr. Baraka has surrounded himself with friends and family members — in particular, his brother, Amiri Baraka Jr., who serves as his chief of staff — who engage in a kind of street politics that have dragged Mr. Baraka into distracting feuds.
The candidate Mr. Baraka defeated, Shavar Jeffries, continues to criticize the mayor’s inability to stanch crime, dismissing Mr. Baraka’s anti-violence rallies as empty gimmicks. And presuming Mr. Baraka can complete the return of schools to local control, they remain some of the nation’s most troubled and low-performing.
WASHINGTON — A record number of African Americans are running for federal office this year, but their advances in elected office have been met by increased racial polarization in politics, particularly in the Deep South.
According to an analysis by David Bositis, an expert on African-American politics, there are 82 black nominees in the two major parties running in 2014, surpassing the 2012 record of 72 candidates.
Of the 82 candidates running, 64 are Democrats and 18 are Republicans, and all but three are seeking election to the U.S. House.
Two black Democrats, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Joyce Dickerson of South Carolina, and one black Republican, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, are on the ballot for U.S. Senate seats.
Among the candidates are four African-American women who are likely to be new additions to the U.S. House: Democrats Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, Alma Adams of North Carolina, and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands, as well as Republican Mia Love of Utah, who would be the first black Republican woman elected to Congress.
Currently there are 44 African Americans serving in Congress, and their ranks are forecast to grow in November, which means next January will bring in a Congress with the highest number of blacks serving in U.S. history.
The growth of blacks in Congress has been most notable in the House Democratic Caucus. After the 2012 elections, House Democrats became the first congressional faction in history to be more than half women and minorities. The 2014 election slate suggests that trend will not reverse itself anytime soon.
White men continue to dominate the Republican Party, and white men make up the majority of Senate Democrats.
These milestones are not without downsides, Bositis notes. The nomination of black candidates, particularly in the Deep South, is driven in part by the massive exodus of whites from the Democratic Party ranks, which has fueled more racial polarization than harmony.
“I wish I could write with confidence that these increases in black major party nominees was a positive development, but the fact is that many of the increases are occurring in states (especially in the South) where most whites are withdrawing from Democratic party politics — leaving black candidates the nominations by default,” he wrote.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in as a Democratic senator from New Jersey on Thursday, taking the oath of office, exchanging hugs with Vice President Joe Biden and acknowledging the applause of friends and family members seated in the visitor’s gallery that rings the chamber. Booker became the second African American in the Senate, alongside Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Booker, 44, was elected to fill out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year. His first day in office was a busy one. Before taking the oath of office, he and his mother met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Minutes after being sworn in, he participated in his first roll call vote, supporting an attempt by Democrats to advance the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C. to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Booker also was to meet later in the day with President Barack Obama at the White House. Booker placed his hand on his own Bible as Biden led him in reciting the oath of office. His oath-taking gave Democrats control of 55 Senate seats, counting two held by independents. Republicans hold 45.
Newark mayor Cory Booker has released his first television campaign ad for the New Jersey Democratic race for U.S. Senate. This ad is his first foray into the primaries which conclude in August. This ad is titled “Run”, and features Booker listing some of the successes he’s had tacking problems as mayor.
“I’ve proven that by bringing people together, even with big problems we can make big progress,” says Booker in the video. “Washington ducks our problems, I wont.” Booker is competing against his fellow Democrats Frank Pallone and Rush Holt to win the seat of the late Frank Lautenberg who passed away earlier this month.