NEWARK – Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop endorsed Ras Baraka in the Newark mayoral race on Tuesday, sending political shockwaves throughout New Jersey as the Newark contest increasingly turns into a proxy potential gubernatorial clash.
Standing with Baraka inside of his parents’ immigration services and income tax preparation operation on Broad Street, steps away from Newark City Hall, Fulop took a decisive step by supporting Baraka instead of former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries in the race to run New Jersey’s largest city.
Fulop’s dice-roll decision to back Baraka is expected to have political ramifications beyond Newark.
The formation of a Fulop-Baraka alliance, potentially aligning the state’s two largest cities if Baraka wins, amplifies Fulop’s statewide ambitions and grants Baraka needed organizational and financial resources for his campaign. The collaboration of Fulop and Baraka also sends a message to Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and South Jersey power broker George Norcoss III, who reportedly have gravitated towards Jeffries.
Fulop’s move could also been seen as a memo to State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), the potential South Jersey blocker of the gubernatorial ambitions of North Jersey’s Fulop.