Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka To Run For NJ Governor

by Peter Candia

“I want to be the Governor of the state of New Jersey,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka Monday night at a Black History Month event. 

Baraka indicated last year that he was considering running for NJ Mayor, but never made a formal announcement. He’s not the first high-profile Mayor to announce a Gubernatorial bid—Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democrat, also intends to run. Fulop congratulated Baraka on social media, saying “I think the more voices with different viewpoints only serves to benefit the residents of NJ. A robust primary is healthy.”

The Newark Mayor is already expanding his horizons beyond Essex County, too. One day after his informal campaign announcement, Baraka spoke at Rowan University, outlining many of his plans if elected Governor, which he says will not be a traditional campaign. Baraka pointed out that he thinks NJ is on the right path, albeit slowly, calling the pace “painfully moderate.” 

We really need to build an economy in a society where everyone feels included,” he said, going on to paint a policy picture that spreads large enough to benefit and include all New Jerseyans. 

The Mayor of Newark: Ras J. Baraka

Baraka is in the midst of his third term as Newark Mayor, where he has been generally well received by constituents. During his almost decade in service to Newark, the city has seen its homicide rate hit its lowest number in over 60 years. Additionally, he worked to balance a budget that was, at one point, creeping toward a $100 million deficit and simultaneously legislated minimum wage to $15 in the city before it ever became a statewide decision. 

In his speech at Rowan, Baraka indicated affordable housing to be a priority within his campaign, declaring that NJ needs to build more housing so that the supply outnumbers the demand. 

Other policies discussed in the speech included increasing off-shore wind production, and restructuring NJ tax code to benefit small to mid-size developers. 

It has been expected that he would throw his hat into the 2025 race for some time now. 

The Democratic primary for NJ Governor now includes three candidates, with Mayor Fulop and Senate President Stephen Sweeney also in the race. On the Republican side, State Senator Jon Bramnick is the sole candidate at this point in time. Because 2021 was an incumbent year for Governor Murphy, 2025 will become the first year the seat is open to both parties since 2017.

If elected, Baraka will become the first black Governor in state history. 

What do you think? Does Mayor Ras J. Baraka have a shot? Who would you like to see run? Let us know!

About the Author/s

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Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

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