Newark mayoral candidates Ras Baraka and Shavar Jeffries face off at Rutgers debate

The city of Newark will choose a replacement for Sen. Cory Booker in a mayoral election that's less than five weeks away. At Wednesday night's

At Wednesday night's debate at Rutgers Newark, it

At Wednesday night's debate at Rutgers Newark, it was clear the voters are already taking sides. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

NEWARK - The city of Newark will choose a replacement for Sen. Cory Booker in a mayoral election that's less than five weeks away.

At Wednesday night's debate at Rutgers Newark, it was clear the voters are already taking sides.

It has been a long campaign for the two candidates leading the pack. Ras Baraka is ahead in the polls. He's against the city's stop-and-frisk policy, wants to stop foreclosures and looks at economic development as an essential way to interrupting the pathway to violence. 

"If we can't interrupt kids from being violent then all we're going to do is arrest kids and the kids behind them and it goes on and on and on," Baraka says.

His opponent, Shavar Jeffries, promises to be tough on crime. He vowed to take control of communities with neighborhood-based policing and more after school activities. "After school programs are absolutely critical," Jeffries says. "Drug treatment programs for addiction are absolutely critical." 

The supporters have been more vocal than the candidates themselves throughout the campaign, but no applause or catcalls were allowed during Wednesday's contest.

Newark voters will take to the polls during the mayoral election on May 13. 

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