Essex County News

Former and current Newark mayor vie for credit in Murphy victory

Who gets the most credit for Phil Murphy's victory in the Democratic primary on Tuesday? Credits: Mark J. Bonamo

Newark's political factions who joined forces last week in the Democratic gubernatorial primary are wrangling over who deserves credit for a get-out-the-vote effort that delivered 73 percent of the Democratic vote in the city to Phil Murphy.

Mayor Ras Baraka, whose base is in the South Ward, and former Mayor Sharpe James, who also hails from the South Ward and still wields considerable influence throughout the city, both worked to get out the vote for Murphy on Tuesday.

But which one of them deserves bragging rights for Murphy's solid performance in Newark?

Sign Up for E-News

For those on Baraka's team, it was clearly the impact of the mayor's get-out-the-vote efforts that juiced Murphy's final vote tally.

"The mayor is the king of the city," said Amiri "Middy" Baraka, Jr., the brother and chief of staff of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. "Murphy walked in the South Ward with us right before the election. And this time, our operation was fully prepared. We did our regular drill." 

James, along with former Councilman Calvin West and Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins, was an early supporter of Murphy when Mayor Baraka was supporting Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, who dropped out of contention in October.

"It's irresponsible, disingenuous, and a brazen act of egotism to say that one individual was responsible for what happened on Election Day," James said. "If Middy is going to say that they were the kingmakers, then Fulop would have been standing on the stage giving a victory speech on Tuesday night."

James, who cut a Murphy-endorsement video with Chaneyfield Jenkins that received more than 20,000 views on social media before the election, said the get-out-the-vote drill on Primary Day was a real team effort. 

"The Bible teaches us that the weakest word in the dictionary is I," James said. "The strongest and most powerful word is we. I challenge Middy to suggest that the clergy, union leaders spending their monies, Newark sororities and independent citizens, including myself and Gayle who made videos supporting Murphy on Facebook did not contribute to Murphy's success in Newark. Let's put ego aside and get real. It's not about I or any singular person. It's about we."

Middy Baraka said the mayor's operation had full control of the the South, Central and West Wards. 

"The results just solidified that point," Middy Baraka said. "We didn't have the resources in places like East Orange and Irvington had, but we still turned the votes out because we've got our own independent operation. The Essex Democratic party wanted to prove their point. It's no secret how much money Murphy put out in the machine. That's why turnout was like that. He invested wisely in the right places." 

Newark voters cast a total of 16,182 ballots on Primary Day, with 11,860 for Murphy. The South Ward produced the most votes for Murphy, with 3,220, though the turnout was highest in the Central Ward with 23.27 percent of the voters turning out.

In Essex County, Murphy garnered 35,337 primary votes, the most in the state, followed by Hudson County with 31,000 votes. Murphy earned 56 percent of the Essex County Democratic vote, demonstrating the importance of having the party line in Democratic primaries in New Jersey.

The North Ward produced 2,337 votes for Murphy, though the North Ward's political operation extends beyond the boundaries of the ward.

Samuel Gonzalez, the chair of the North Ward Democratic Committee, said the goal for Primary Day was 3,200 votes for Murphy in the North Ward, 10 districts Central and the three in the West. Those particular districts in the Central and West wards are primarily Hispanic and orient toward the North Ward.

"We had a goal from the Murphy campaign and we delivered as promised," Gonzalez said. "We have incredible and experienced volunteers in our organization who are passionate about helping to elect good candidates like Phil Murphy and the rest of the line A team. But there were many individuals and groups in Newark who deserve credit for getting out the vote for Murphy. It truly was a team effort for great candidates." 

As for Murphy, he stayed above the political fracas in Newark.

"I'm very happy with Newark and what we got," Murphy said the day after the election. "Huge kudos to the mayor and his team and Essex County Chair LeRoy Jones. Amen."

Newark Primary Votes by Ward
North 15,936 3,109 19.5% 2,337 45 134 311 8 31
South 19,261 4,257 22.1% 3,220 40 142 695 2 30
East 8,362 1,393 16.7% 871 34 163 200 7 27
West 17,070 3,606 21.1% 2,610 30 147 654 2 24
Central 16,403 3,817 23.3% 2,882 41 163 605 7 28
Newark 77,032 16,182 21.0% 11,860 190 749 2,465 26 140


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


TAPinto Bloomfield's Kevin Knight among Nutley Jaycee's Distinguished Service Honorees

March 19, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Jaycees wil hold the 47th annual Distinguished Service Awards Wednesday evening, April 12 at the Valley Regency in Clifton.

This year's awardees are:

Outstanding Young Man

Michael J. Nevin

Civic Affairs

Janet Canonico


Robyn Powell


Kevin Knight

Public Health and  Safety

Thomas Nicolette

The ...

Happy St. Patrick's Day from is a network of more than 70 franchised online local newspapers in New Jersey and New York with more than 7M readers during the last year. We provide original local news reporting 24/7 for the communities we serve, as well as a full-service events calendar, real estate listings, business directory, classifieds, and much, much more. Readers can receive FREE enews at ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Martin Luther King, Newark, and the Cool Spring ...

Education Law & Justice Other


Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Understanding Liver Disease

Education Health & Wellness


Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness


Thu, March 22, 6:00 PM

Mountainside Medical Center, Glen Ridge

Power Up your Grocery Cart

Food & Drink Health & Wellness


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Cedar Grove High School, Cedar Grove

Orange Invitational Volleyball Tournament ...

Education Food & Drink Giving Back Other Sports

Fri, March 23, 6:30 PM

Parks and Recreation Department , Nutley

Nutley Crew Beefsteak/Tricky Tray

Food & Drink Sports


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

West Orange High School , West Orange

WOHS Band Council Presents: A Concert for the ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness

Bloomfield Police Blotter February 19 - 25, 2018

March 2, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.


2/19/18 – Officers dispatched to Modells (224 Bloomfield Ave) on a report of shoplifting. Complainant (Modells employee) observed an Unknown Black Male suspect place (2) “Nike” hooded sweatshirts and batting gloves (total value ...

Student-Led March for Our Lives to Take Place in Montclair, Mar. 24

March 19, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair and surrounding-area students are planning to participate in a movement called 'March for Our Lives' taking place on Saturday, March 24. Part of a nationwide movement to pass common-sense gun legislation in America, the students plan on gathering in several places across the state of New Jersey, including Montclair, Maplewood, Paterson, Union and ...

Man Dies from South Orange House Fire on Sunday

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - A man has died from a house fire on Warwick Avenue in South Orange on Sunday afternoon, stated Thomas Fennelly, Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor.

The fire, which began about 2 p.m. was contained by about 5 p.m., and required mutual aid from fire departments in neighboring towns, according to firefighters at the scene.

Floating Classroom Will Help Roxbury Kids Embrace 'Their' Lake Hopatcong

March 19, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – There are plenty of kids living in Roxbury who’ve never been on Lake Hopatcong, says lake buff Marty Kane. He’s even confident many don’t realize their town borders the big lake.

That’s one of the reasons Kane, chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Trustees, is bubbling with excitement about the upcoming launch of the ...

Technology ‘Hub’ proposed for Hub City’s downtown, covering 12 acres

NEW BRUNSWICK – State and city officials on Monday unveiled plans for a “hub” for research in the fields of technology and health care services to stretch over 12 acres.

Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking at a meeting at Rutgers University, said the "Innovation and Technology Hub,” which is in the planning stages, would include construction of 2 million to 4 million ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 18, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

#Enough Nutley High School Walkout: By Students, for Students

March 16, 2018

To the Editor:

Disgusted by federal inaction, devastated by the Parkland shooting, and determined to see real change, students around the country walked out of class at 10 a.m. on March 14th, one month after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Students of Nutley High School also protested, in solidarity with students from over 3000 other schools ...

Parkland What...Parkland Where...Parkland Wow!

Thinking of the 17 angels that lost their lives lost one month ago. Thinking of the injured that are still fighting to heal. Thinking of the #MSDSTRONGstudents, teachers and staff that had their innocence taken from them. Thinking of a community that draws strength from each other as we all try to move forward after the tragic events of Feb 14.

Parkland what...... Parkland where.......

Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

NUTLEY, NJ - Pro Staff Institute is proud to announce their participation in Uber Health, a new transportation program designed to provide transportation to patients. Pro Staff Institute is the first physical therapy center in the nation to leverage Uber Health, and joins over other 100 health care organizations in the U.S., including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and senior care ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update February 19, 2018

Indoor track competed at the Group IV Championships and two athletes advanced to the Meet of Champions. Kaela Edwards broke her own school record in the 55-meter hurdles finishing second. La’Shan White finished an impressive 5th in the 400-meter run outrunning his number 10 seed.  

 Wrestling competed at the District 9 Championship. Two Bengals advanced to the Region ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update February 12, 2018

 Boys Basketball faced Barringer in a round of 16 match up in the ECT and won by a decisive score of 67-40. Junior Mike Ramos joined the 1000 point club for his career with a 29 point effort.

 Bowling added Essex County Championships for both the Boys and Girls to their already impressive resumes. The Boys County title is their first since the 2002-03 season while the Girls ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 19, 2018


TRENTON - New Jersey, one of the only employers who pays its workers for unused sick time, and then appears mystified when it struggles to balance its budget, may finally be capping sick-leave payouts.  The proposal, obviously unpopular with labor unions, has been discussed before, but not with traction. It is back in the mix again, to cap payouts ...

Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Presents:Ron Guidry Book Signing, Apr. 3

March 19, 2018

Ron Guidry, known as "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning" to his teammates, quickly rose in 1977 to become the ace of the Yankees' stellar pitching staff, helping the team regarded as one of the most famous and controversial in Yankees history to win two World Series championships. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 3 for a signing of Guidry's new ...

4th Wall Announces Auditions for FUN HOME

4th Wall Theatre, a non-union NJ theatre company, will hold open auditions for all roles in the final production of its 2017-18 season, FUN HOME, with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. 4th Wall’s production will be directed by Kate Swan with music direction by Markus Grae-Hauck. The show will be presented at ...

Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc 50/50 Raffle

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc. (JLMN) has provided support and service to women and children in Bloomfield, The Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Montclair, Newark and Verona for more than 95 years.

Our trained, enthusiastic members are committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community ...

Junior Summer Workshops To Be Held at Lord Stirling Stables

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable has announced the dates for the Junior Summer Workshops, which are themed five-day programs focusing on riding and horse care. The Stable is located at 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge.

Junior riders may enroll in Summer Workshops beginning Saturday, March 17, 2018 at ...


- Mar 14, 2018
Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
Read more
- Feb 28, 2018
John Genitempo, The “Silver Fox”, of Nutley, passed away on Wednesday February 28, 2018 ...
Read more