NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Ras Baraka, son of late poet and activist Amiri Baraka, declared victory Tuesday in the race to succeed Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker as mayor of the state’s largest city. Baraka, who served on Newark’s City Council, was a staunch critic of Booker, who stepped down last year to run for the Senate. He declared victory with nearly all districts counted and with a 54 percent to 46 percent lead over former State Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries.
Baraka inherits a fiscal crisis that has left Newark in danger of being subject to state monitoring. His supporters held a raucous celebration at a downtown hotel after he announced his victory.
Speaking to the crowd, Baraka wished his mother a happy Mother’s Day and said he knew his father, who died in January, was “in the room tonight.” He urged the crowd to “be the mayor” and work for positive change, a reference to one of his campaign slogans, “When I become mayor, we become mayor.”
“We have a great city, an international city,” he said. “Watch out, America, here comes Newark!”