Newark politics watchers will have their eyes this coming week on John Sharpe James, the son of former Newark Mayor Sharpe James.
The young James is running for the at-large council seat vacated last year by U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10).
The James’s have run up a considerable number of local and countywide endorsements and are working hard to tally large vote totals on Election Day Nov. 5th to show the strength of the James brand.
John Sharpe James has not yet issued an endorsement in the mayor’s race and some insiders believe that if he proves power on Tuesday night he could be persuaded to run for mayor himself.
The city council senses James in muscle flex mode and on Monday wants to formally confirm Council President Luis Quintana as acting mayor.
Quintana is reportedly unhurt after a fender bender yesterday, an episode his political enemies were already cackling about as an inauspicious start to his tenure on the throne of City Hall.
The council would have installed him last Thursday but Councilman Ronald C. Rice and Councilman Carlos Gonzalez were in D.C. at the swearing-in ceremony of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.
Operatives wanted Gonzalez to phone in an aye vote for Quintana but Gonzalez didn’t want to do it, pointing out that when he was sick city hall officials didn’t allow him to phone in his votes. Why was it suddenly alright now?
Gonzalez suggested moving the vote to Monday.
So Monday it is, in part so the council can put its fingerprints on making Quintana mayor and not have to wait until James wins and acquiesce to the appearance of the elder James (through his son) ratifying the new mayor.
Author of a new book and feeling citywide love vibes, the former mayor is strutting around Newark again like the ultimate power broker and his foes don’t want to give him yet another jolt of power.
Now that Booker is gone and Quintana stands poised to take his place, the citywide players are moving forward with all expedition in the May 2014 mayor’s contest.
To date the perceived frontrunner in the race, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka, is poised to receive the backing of state Sen. Dick Codey (D-27) and other county power brokers.
North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos is in feel-out mode as he tries to determine how to jumpstart his campaign in an atmosphere overhung with Chris Christie–Joe DiVincenzo tinsel.
Grasping for traction, Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif is said to be close to dropping out of the race to endorse former Attorney General’s Counsel Shavar Jeffries of the South Ward.
Jeffries already has Sharif’s father, the much respected Carl Sharif, as his chief political consultant.