NEWARK - Voters in Newark head to the polls in less than three months to choose who will replace Sen. Cory Booker as mayor, and the two remaining candidates are fighting to distinguish themselves.
One of those running, Councilman Ras Baraka, says he's already proven the naysayers wrong. "A lot of folks didn't think we'd be able to be here today, 90 days out, this short," he says.
Baraka says the endorsements and campaign money are pouring in, but apparently not everyone is a fan. On Sunday, his tour bus was set ablaze outside campaign headquarters. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office has impounded the bus, and investigators are examining surveillance video from nearby shops.
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Baraka says he has no idea who's behind it. "To the point where we call names, I've never done that," Baraka says. "I don't intend on doing that and the people of Newark deserve better than that. And more importantly our issues in this city are too deep and systemic for us to waste time on things like that."
The candidate has repeated his call to return local control of the Newark Public Schools District to the parents. Currently, it is one of a handful of districts run by the state.
"Ultimately, the people, their democratic rights are being taken away in the city of Newark," Baraka says. "And we should have a right to govern our own schools like other Americans, like other New Jerseyans."
News 12 New Jersey will speak later this week to Baraka's opponent, former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries.
For an extended interview with Baraka, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.