Newark mayor's race: pro-Jeffries independent expenditure group responds to first Baraka campaign TV spot, calls Baraka's career record "failed"

By Mark Bonamo | April 8th, 2014

 

NEWARK - A independent expenditure group that backs Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries lashed out at the career record of Jeffries' rival, Ras Baraka, calling his work as a public school principal "failed."

The response by the pro-Jeffries independent expenditure group, Newark First, came hours after the Baraka campaign launched its first television campaign ad of the season.

The ad features the principal of Central High School - on leave from the job while he runs for mayor - greeting school children as they get off the bus.

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Sweeney says he is not involved in Newark mayoral race

 

 

By Mark Bonamo | April 7th, 2014

 

 

NEWARK - State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) said on Monday that he has yet to support a candidate in the Newark mayoral race. 

"I haven't gotten involved in the Newark mayor's race at this point," Sweeney told PolitickerNJ.com, alluding to the battle between South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka and former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries. "And I haven't gotten involved in it right now for one reason: I'm from South Jersey." 

Sweeney spoke to reporters before addressing the first national summit on child abuse and neglect held in New Jersey, presented at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) by the non-profit organization Wynona's House. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) also addressed the crowd, but left before speaking to reporters. 

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Newark mayor's race: Jeffries rallies troops in West Ward after tough week

By Mark Bonamo | April 5th, 2014

 

NEWARK - Kevin Waters, the West Ward candidate on the slate of Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries, set the tone quickly Saturday morning at Jeffries' West Ward campaign headquarters in Newark's Vailsburg neighborhood.

"Brothers and sisters, this is it. There is a time to win, and a time to lose. There is a time of war, and there is a time of peace," Waters said to a crowd of about 50 people. "The Lord has spoken to my spirit, and Shavar's spirit, and said that this is our time. This is our season for victory." 

Biblical references were perhaps appropriate with just 37 days to go before the Newark mayoral election in May. And after the past week, the Jeffries' campaign could be forgiven for looking to the skies. 

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The Election Process: Can Elections Be Rigged?

Friday, 04 April 2014 17:47 Local Talk News Editor

 

An Interview with Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin

The election process is key to the success of a candidate. All candidates run with aspirations. Day in and day out, they work hard to gain the confidence and support of each individual voter.
On the local level, they go door to door, work tirelessly, lose sleep at night, and gather a group of people who support him/her. After these many problems, all deserve to be elected, but only one or a designated number of candidates can win. However, if someone works hard and deserve to be elected, but due to falsified voting registration or a compromised voting process lose the election, then it is not the democratic process we all dream about.
So I have decided to take the interview of Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin. He is the most qualified person to talk to about elections.

Dhiren Shah: What is the process of an election?

Chris Durkin: The election process is run by three different offices in Essex County; the County Clerk's office, the Superintendent of Elections, and the Board of Elections. All three offices have different functions. It's checks and balances so elections can be trusted, and not one office has all the power. Each office compliments each other, but no one controls the process solely. There are three forms of voting - vote by mail, voting at the machine, and provisional ballots. For instance, if we are talking about the process of the vote by mail ballot, the superintendent of elections maintains the voter registration file.

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Baraka bus burning prompts $5,000 award for information leading to arrest

By Naomi Nix/The Star-Ledger
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on April 03, 2014

The Essex County Sheriff's Crime Stoppers Program is offering $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the Newark man charged with setting a fire inside Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka's campaign bus in February.

 

NEWARK — Essex County authorities have raised the reward to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the man charged with setting a fire inside Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka's campaign bus.

Michael Benkowski, 43, was charged this week with third-degree arson, third-degree criminal mischief and third-degree burglary charges in the bus fire, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

The bus was parked in front of Baraka’s campaign headquarters on Feb. 16, when Benkowski allegedly set it on fire, the Essex County Prosecutors' Office said in a statement.

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Newark election needs impartial monitoring: Editorial

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on April 02, 2014

Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka is demanding that two members of the Essex County election board step down because they’ve publicly declared support for his opponent, Shavar Jeffries.

He’s right on that point. This political race is already dysfunctional enough, with accusations of misconduct being hurled against both sides, and the election board has to remain spotless in order to be credible.

Its members are responsible for overseeing the counting of ballots, determining voter eligibility, certifying election results and participating in recounts of voting machines. They have a duty to ensure the impartiality of the election, now just six weeks away.

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Newark mayoral race: Poll puts Ras Baraka way ahead

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on April 02, 2014

NEWARK — South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka has a sizable lead over his opponent, Shavar Jeffries, with only six weeks left in the mayor's race, according to a new poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, the same firm that has polled for President Obama and U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

The poll, commissioned by the Working Families Organization, which has endorsed Baraka, shows Baraka with a 51 percent to 28 percent lead over Jeffries. Pollsters surveyed 450 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

The numbers are tough news for the Jeffries campaign, on a day when one of their campaign workers has been tied to the alleged arson of Baraka's campaign bus.

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Newark mayor's race: Jeffries calls for Baraka bus burning fugitive to "turn himself in" and for "thorough investigation"

By Mark Bonamo | April 2nd, 2014

 

NEWARK - Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries responded to concerns raised following the issuing of an arrest warrant on Monday by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office for a man who police believe set fire to the campaign bus of rival candidate Ras Baraka in February. The arson suspect, Michael Benkowski, 43, of Newark, is wanted in connection with the torching of the bus, according to the Prosecutor's Office. Benkowski is currently at large.

"As a former State Assistant Attorney General, I believe there should be a thorough investigation of this latest episode, to include all parties in question, as well as threats and acts of intimidation against my supporters at taxpayer expense," said Jeffries in a written statement. "I have nothing to hide, and neither should my opponent.

"I have complete confidence in our investigative authorities and will let the facts take us where they may.

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New pro-Jeffries TV spot featuring Donald Payne Jr. hits Newark airwaves

By Matthew Arco | April 2nd, 2014

 

A new television ad featuring U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10) in support of former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries is hitting the airwaves in the Newark mayor’s race.

A pro-Jeffries independent expenditure group, Newark First, launched its first television ad set to air on cable and broadcast. The 30-second spot is an endorsement from Payne, who’s running his own re-election campaign.

“Newark needs to move in a new direction, that’s why we’ve joined forces to form Newark First and ensure that Shavar Jeffries becomes our next mayor,” said Chris Pernell, president of Newark First’s steering committee, in a statement.

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Newark mayor's race: name on Jeffries ELEC report closely resembles name of arson suspect in Baraka campaign bus burning

By Mark Bonamo | April 2nd, 2014

 

NEWARK - A copy of a January 2014 New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) report filed by the campaign of Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries listed a name that closely resembles that of the suspect in the torching of the campaign bus of Jeffries' rival, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka. 

The name Michael Benkoski appears twice on the ELEC report for canvassing services performed for the Jeffries team in December 2013. The total amount paid to Benkoski listed for these services is $450.

An arrest warrant was issued on Monday by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office for a man who police believe set fire to the Baraka campaign bus in February. The bus was torched, and sugar was put into the gas tank, according to the prosecutor's office. 

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