Luis Quintana voted Newark Council president and possible interim mayor

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger 

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NEWARK — Almost 10 months after a riotous battle over the balance of power on
the Newark City Council, long time At-large Councilman Luis Quintana
was voted council president Wednesday night in a near-unanimous vote
by his seven colleagues.

Just after 10 p.m. Wednesday, as the Newark City Council was wrapping
up a regular meeting, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka, a 2014 mayoral
candidate put forth a motion to make Quintana president. North Ward
Councilman Anibal Ramos, another strong contender for mayor, seconded
the motion.

Only At-large councilman Carlos Gonzalez abstained. The rest voted for Quintana.

"Luis unifies everybody," said city union leader Rahaman Muhammad. "He
hasn't declared for any candidate."

Should Mayor Cory Booker win his Oct. 16 senate election battle
with Republican Steve Lonegan, he will have to step down as mayor of
Newark. If the city council does not appoint another interim mayor,
Quintana will be in charge of Newark during the nine months remaining
in Booker's unfulfilled term.

Quintana, 53, could not be reached Wednesday night for comment. A
citywide councilman since 1994, he is the longest-serving member of
the Newark Municipal Council.

Baraka said the vote was "historic."

“With nearly three decades of service to Newark including having served as Deputy Mayor, Councilman Quintana is well qualified to lead our Council during the coming months of transition in Newark.”

Ramos, who has been acting president since Donald Payne Jr. took over his father's Congressional seat last year, also applauded Quintana.

“I want to congratulate Councilman Quintana on his election as president of the council,” said Ramos. “He is a longstanding councilman and I look forward to continue working with him on moving the city forward.”

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