Short List ’10

It’s never too early to develop a short list of candidates for the 2010 Newark Mayoral election. If Cory Booker does not please the more than seven out of ten local voters who supported his campaign yesterday, several Essex insiders say that City Councilman Ras Baraka could emerge as the leading candidate of the anti-Booker forces — especially if Baraka can hold his At-Large seat in the June 13 runoff. Others: Freeholder Donald Payne, Jr., the son of the popular Newark Congressman, who is also competing for an At-Large City Council seat next month; Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, whose potential candidacy is among the many reasons Booker will need to keep Newark political leader Stephen Adubato, Sr. on his good side; and if he wins the runoff for the South Ward Council seat, perhaps John Sharpe James, the current Mayor’s son. Of course, if Booker keeps his approvals high, and continues his massively successful fundraising operation, he’ll be incredibly tough to beat in just four years.