Echoes of James V. Booker 2002 in Ugly Newark Ironbound Runoff

IRONBOUND – When you go out looking for the guy himself and instead come face to face with an oil painting of him that looks like it was done by Velazquez, you know you’ve crossed over from hard-boiled politics into old world folklore.

Councilman Augusto “Augie” Amador, the man who even in modern garb resembles the last living 17th Century conquistador, tugged on his spurs for another ride this year after two decades in the East Ward saddle, and now finds himself in a runoff election against challenger Anthony Campos.

The older Portuguese crowd adores Amador.

The younger set apparently sees promise in Campos, a former police director and police chief.

It’s like this: optimum weather for Amador is 3,000 and under in terms of total turnout. If turnout exceeds 3,600 he’s probably cooked, say sources.

The race got brutal late, with at least one source comparing the whisper mantra of Amador allies to those widely disparaged “not really Black” tactics employed by Sharpe James devotees against Cory Booker in 2002.

Campos’ problem, according to anonymous circulating pieces, is that he’s not really Portuguese. He’s actually Italian.

Real name Russo.

He’s adopted.

That’s supposed to scare the Portuguese diehards to the polls in defense of the incumbent.

On the hard side, late Amador mail noted “results not promises,” and featured the endorsements of Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Jr., Essex County Sherriff Armando Fontoura, Mayor Ras Baraka, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr., At-Large Councilman Carlos Gonzalez, At-Large Councilman Luis Quintana, At-Large Councilman Eddie Osborne, and Council President Mildred Crump.

The Campos side is trying to turn the election on a change message.


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