NEWARK – Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka and State Senator Richard Codey (D-27) responded critically to an anonymous malier attacking Baraka. The mailer was sent to some residents of the city’s Ironbound section hours before Codey’s endorsement of Baraka in the neighborhood on Thursday.
The mailer came in envelopes with no return addresses, with doubled-sided flyers inside.
On one side is a copy of a letter Baraka wrote in support of convicted gang leader Al-Tariq Gumbs at his sentencing in 2010. Baraka wrote that Gumbs could serve as “an asset to our community” in resolving gang-related conflicts that result in homicides and shootings in New Jersey’s largest city.
On the other side of the flyer, next to a copy of a previously written news report about the letter, are printed these words: “Do you really want this guy to be Mayor?? When I become Mayor WE become Mayor.” The final words are an apparent jab at one of Baraka’s campaign slogans.
Baraka told PolitickerNJ.com shortly after Codey’s endorsement of his campaign on Thursday that he didn’t mind the letter being showcased once again.
“They’re trying to keep this relevant. I’m glad they put the letter out, actually. It says exactly what I said,” Baraka, the South Ward Councilman, said. “My mailer says this is a part of something that we’re doing. We’re not hiding from it. They’re sending it in the mail at midnight like it’s a secret, but it’s not a secret.”
“I think that they think Newarkers are appalled or ashamed [by the letter]. What they don’t consider is that [those referenced in the letter] are also from Newark. They’re mothers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts. They live here as well. And they wish to God somebody would steer them the right way.”
Baraka then pointed to the picture of Gumbs on the flyer.
“If he thought that maybe he was going to be the mayor, or part of the establishment of this city, maybe he wouldn’t have been on this side of the picture, in jail, and maybe he would be on the other side, doing something positive.”
“This story is a month old,” Codey, the former Governor, said. “It’s not an issue. Forget about it.”