Ronald C. Rice formally exits Newark mayor’s race

Newark West Ward Councilman Ronald C. Rice formally announced today that he will not be a candidate for Mayor in the 2014 Municipal Election.

He also announced his willingness to serve another term on the Newark City Council, but did not specify in what capacity.

A source close to the situation said Rice is likely to pursue an at-large seat.

“I will not be a candidate for Mayor in 2014,” said Rice. “As we enter the election season, there is a need for our city leadership to continue to work on the pressing issues of our city, and a campaign for Mayor will take needed attention away from tackling institutional issues in Newark. I choose to work on proposing solutions to our intractable problems and a campaign for Mayor gets in the way of that.

“We have just folded our tent on my mayoral exploratory efforts and I am evaluating in what capacity I can continue to best serve the citizens of Newark and complete projects and initiatives we have started in the West Ward, namely our new West Ward Economic Development Corporation and our continuing West Ward Abandoned Property Initiative,” added Rice.

The 2014 mayoral candidates include North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka and former assistant counsel for the state Attorney General Shavar Jeffries.

Rice did not issue an endorsement in his formal statement but sources say he is likely to back Baraka for mayor.

Ronald C. Rice formally exits Newark mayor’s race