Newark Mayor Ras Baraka backs Democratic State Party Chair John Currie over Leroy Jones, the chairman in his home county of Essex.
Baraka won the mayoralty in 2014 without the support of the county, and subsequently made peace with Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, but was unable to get Jones’s support for a replacement for retiring Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-29).
The mayor was a supporter in 2017 of Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, and what the chairman’s fight reveals at this point – among other narratives – is the reanimation of that alliance of chairs (or counties) and personalities who backed Fulop for governor.
Having beaten Fulop, Murphy (or Currie) now occupies – with some exceptions – roughly that same space Fulop stood in early as he prepared to run for governor: Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Jersey City, Newark, and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
Baraka fancies himself a progressive. As a big city mayor with his own ticket to the dance, he also favors maintaining close relations to the Governor.