Baraka campaign drops 11,000 petitions on Newark city clerk's office

By Mark Bonamo | February 4th, 2014


NEWARK - A human armada descended on Newark City Hall Tuesday morning as more than 100 supporters bearing approximately 11,000 ballot petitions for mayoral candidate and South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka arrived in force.

Baraka entered City Hall surrounded by a coterie of supporters as a campaign school bus parked in front of Newark's main municipal building and several cars marked with campaign signs double parked along Broad Street.

Baraka saw the petition effort as a sign of enhanced organizational strength for the campaign.

"It shows the commitment of the organization that we have," Baraka said. "We have a solid ground organization, probably comparable with any organization in the city, or the county for that matter. We are able to put bodies on the street without expending hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it. There is a difference between supporters and believers. Believers believe in the cause, and they're going to go all out. Today is an example of that."

"People say to rich people, money doesn't make you happy. That's unless you ain't got it. It's the same thing [about petitions]," said Rahaman Muhammad, a former local union leader, who is a staunch Baraka supporter. "We don't need 11,000 petitions. But I'll take it."

"Ras may have turned in 11,000 petitions, but he also copied 11,000 petitions for his data base of potential voters," Muhammad added. "These 11,000 people will be communicated with, and be made sure that they are registered to vote."

"In Newark, it's about street force. It's about the street campaign. It's not all about money," said Amiri "Middy" Baraka, Jr., Baraka's brother and campaign manager, outside of the City Clerk's office. "We wanted to show the people's voice today. I'm not going to say anything [to the other campaigns]. Just work harder."

"Perhaps Councilman Baraka should work harder to reduce crime in the South Ward which has shot up 70 percent under his watch," responded Lupe Todd, spokeswoman for the mayoral campaign of former Assistant Attorney General and Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries. The Jeffries campaign has submitted 2,000 petitions for their candidate,
according to figures provided by the campaign.

"[Newark mayoral candidate and North Ward Councilman] Anibal Ramos is steadfastly committed to serving as mayor of the city where he was born, raised and educated," said Ramos campaign spokesman Bruno Tedeschi, whose campaign submitted approximately 2,600 petitions for their candidate. "His record of fighting crime on Newark's streets,
leading the effort to revitalize the North Ward and improving public schools for all students, along with his hands-on approach to assisting residents on a wide range of issues, makes him the best candidate to lead Newark going forward."

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