NEWARK – Although she could face a primary challenge in 2015, state Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-29) indicated that she planned to stay the course, no matter what.
“Since I’ve been in the Assembly, I’ve always voted on measures that have been for the benefit of the people of Newark,” said Spencer, 46, of Newark, who has served in the Assembly since 2008, citing educational initiatives among other work. “I’ve been in a Legislature for a while, and I think I’ve done a great job for the people in my district.”
Sources have told PolitickerNJ that increased fundraising efforts by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and his allies indicate that a primary fight might be looming in LD 29 against Eliana Pintor Marin and Spencer. The Democratic LD 29 assemblywomen would reportedly be challenged by Alturrick Kenney and Patrick Council, sources stated.
A looming LD 29 fight would highlight the struggle for Essex County dominance between Democrats Baraka and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
DiVincenzo backs the reelection of Spencer and Pintor Marin, and sources have told PolitickerNJ that Essex County Democratic Party Chairman LeRoy Jones is inclined to stick with the LD 29 incumbents because Baraka already has steady allies in the other state legislative district that includes parts of Newark, Legislative District 28.
The LD 28 Assembly duo, Democrats Ralph Caputo and Cleopatra Tucker, backed Baraka early in the 2014 Newark mayoral race, and both reportedly remain acceptable to Jones.
Next year’s Assembly races could also be a moment of both settling old scores and looking to the future for Baraka. Pintor Marin supported Baraka’s rival, Shavar Jeffries, in last year’s mayoral contest. Spencer, who was then Newark’s municipal prosecutor, stayed out of the mayoral battle.
Spencer indicated that she’s ready to jump into a primary battle next year if need be.
“A challenge could come from anywhere. Challenges happen,” Spencer, who works an attorney for Essex County, said. “I’m ready to run. I’m going to seek re-election, and I’m going to do it with Eliana Pintor Marin.”