By John Celock
A new attack ad in the Newark mayor’s race repeats a refrain that has been dominating Brick City politics for over a decade, stop outside influencers.
The Working Families Organization released an ad Monday warning voters not to vote for Shavar Jeffries (D) on May 13, warning that he is a tool of Wall Street hedge funds and Gov. Chris Christie (R) in seeking control of the city schools. Jeffries is locked in a competitive race with Councilman Ras Baraka (D) in the nonpartisan race, where education issues have played a role.
“They’re coming from Wall Street, from Trenton to sell us ShaVar Jeffries,” the ad said. “Chris Christie’s allies and the Wall Street hedge fund types have an agenda, shut down Newark’s public schools.”
Education issues have remained dominate in Newark, with state officials having controlled the schools since the 1990s. Christie appoints the city’s schools superintendent and his appointee, Cami Anderson, has been a lightening rod in Newark politics for her agenda, which includes merit pay and tenure reform.
The attack ads on Jeffries also mimic lines familiar to Newark voters since U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) first race for mayor in 2002. Booker has long been attacked in Newark for being close to outsiders, including Wall Street bankers and for his support of education reform proposals, including charter schools. Baraka has long been tied to the Booker opposition movement in Newark.
Mayor Luis Quintana (D), who succeeded Booker in November, is seeking a return to the City Council and not a full term in the mayor’s office.