Flashpoint Newark: The Race for Third – and for Fourth


The conventional wisdom is Newark is that Josephine Garcia and Reginald Bledsoe will be fine later tonight in the School Board election.

They’re the politically connected favorites in a low-turnout election with 15 people in the contest.

Who gets that third seat looks muddier at the moment.

Flo Johnson has the backing of the charter school movement.

The trouble for her, though, is allies of Mayor Ras Baraka are trying to shoehorn in fire department official Patricia Bradford, who has good name ID and the respect of longstanding Baraka-types.

Johnson can drive anti-charter school people to the polls.


Then there’s Charles Love, who has the backing of Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins.

He’s a people power, street-level candidate with a strong academic background.

In a position where she’s sure to be dumped by Baraka people in time for next year’s election, Chaneyfield Jenkins wants to prove power with a Love win. An early supporter of former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy for governor, the councilwoman wants to be able to flex her central ward-wide political muscle to complement the statewide piece in time for 2018.

But even if the so-called unity ticket of apparently competing interests – Garcia, Bledsoe and Johnson – holds together in victory, a Bradford box out of Love for fourth place or vice versa, would make a statement in the lead-up to the mayor’s contest.



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