It’s finally here, the Newark School Board election, in which Mayor Ras Baraka will attempt to embarrass Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins in the lead-up to next year’s citywide mayoral contest and vice versa; and in which North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos will get a chance to test drive his role as the city’s unimpeachable kingmaker.
The unity slate backed by Baraka, Ramos and charter school advocates consists of Reginald Bledsoe (Baraka’s pick), Josephine Garcia (Ramos’ pick) and Flo Johnson (the charter school choice).
Feeling out a 2018 mayoral run, Chaneyfield Jenkins supports Charles Love and Deborah Terrell in a field of 15 candidates. If either Terrell or Love squeaks in and upsets the fortification Baraka has built with Ramos she will be able to claim a moral victory on her way to assembling opposition to the mayor.
A second full slate bears the imprimatur of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA).
The charter movement poured well over $100K into the unity slate with mail boosting all three candidates, but Bledsoe indisputably overwhelmingly bears Baraka’s fingerprints. Still, if Garcia beats Bledsoe, Ramos will be able to chest thump that much more forcibly as he eyes an influential role going into next year’s citywide contest.