In what might be viewed as the first-round of the upcoming Democratic primary contests, a slate of Newark Board of Education candidates backed by North Ward Democratic leader Stephen Adubato, Sr. — and to a lesser extent, Mayor Cory Booker — scored an easy victory in yesterday's school board election. The top-votegetter was Samuel Gonzalez (3,321), the husband of Democratic State Senate candidate Teresa Ruiz. He was followed by Tharien Arnold (3,008), an unsuccessful South Ward City Council candidate last year, and Shanique Davis-Speight (2,351). Among the losing candidates was incumbent Anton Wheeler (1,429), who made unsuccessful bids for the State Assembly in 2005 and 2006.
Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, who lost the support of the Essex County Democratic organization at Adubato's request, backed Wheeler and Wilhelmina Holden (1,392); the Wheeler/Holden flyer, in Spanish, suggested a vote for the Caraballo Team. Caraballo's son — and running mate — Nico Caraballo, helped shuttle Election Day workers through the North Ward. Also backing the losing candidates: a loosely-based coalition of old Sharpe James supporters, though the ex-Mayor and retiring State Senator was not personally involved.
The winning candidates ran first, second and third in the North, East, West and Central wards — but did poorly in the South Ward, finishing third, fifth and sixth.