The race for the Central Ward is sure to be entertaining and intruiging for Newark politicos. The 16-person race for the seat left in the wake of Dana Rone’s “rapid, requisite retirement“ has revealed two frontrunners with what appears to be the classic alignments: Eddie Osborne, the labor leader who was once a supporter of the mayor back when Booker ran for that very same Central Ward seat, and former councilman Charles Bell, who declares that anything good that ever happened in Newark happened under the James administration.
The announcement of Booker’s support of Osbourne for Central Ward councilman has revealed some real vitriol in the race with Bell. Jeff Mays, reporting for the Star Ledger, got this choice quote, Booker endorses Osborne for Newark council seat:
“He should be careful. I have a clean record. If he has facts he should submit the information, otherwise he should he keep his mouth shut,” Bell said of Booker, calling his 2-1/2 years in office an “attempt to colonize the city of Newark and put people back on the plantation.”
Bell is sure to put up a tough fight, too. According to Max Pizzarro at Politicker NJ, he has the backing of State Senator Ron Rice and power-broker Steve Adubato, Osborne welcomes Booker’s support in the Central Ward:
In the multi-person field, former Councilman Charles Bell enjoys high name ID, deep insider alliances, his own city and labor contacts, and key ballot position at eye level with Obama. At his back stands the compelling local alliance of North Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato and state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex), who are usually at odds.
Mayor Cory Booker lost tonight in his final shot this year to win a ward chairman in one of the city’s five wards. Booker had run district leader candidates in the other wards and they lost last Tuesday, most critically in the South Ward.
The mayor’s campaigning for those district leaders was ineffective, but the candidates were not at a level where major policy and budget decisions are being made. If Osborne loses to Bell, however, Booker will find himself replacing one vociferous opponent on the council with another.