It’s a well-known fact that the Newark school system has been under state control since 1995, and that Cami Anderson, the district’s embattled, state-appointed superintendent, has been able to enact her One Newark education plan despite significant community resistance.
So, some might have been left asking why yesterday’s school board election mattered at all. PolitickerNJ followed the mayor’s chief of staff, Amiri Baraka, around the campaign that vaulted the mayor’s candidates to victory.
That victory, while minor in the eyes of residents, speaks to the ambitions of the NJ Democratic political machine.
“We’ve got to tell them that we’ve got to get rid of [Governor Chris Christie]. We’ve won on the local level. Now we’ve got to go to the state level,” Baraka said. “We’ve got to get a new governor.”
Sitting next to Baraka as he made these remarks was Jason Solowsky, a political operative tied to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. Fulop played an important supporting role in Ras Baraka’s 2014 Newark mayoral race victory. In this year’s Newark school board election, Solowsky and Amiri Baraka confirmed that about 70 Fulop campaign workers parachuted in from Jersey City to help out the Baraka-backed slate.
Amiri Baraka further confirmed the fact that his brother and Fulop, a potential 2017 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, continue to work together for both present and future reasons.
“This is a changing of the guard. We’re sharpening our sword for the next big day. We can’t predict the future, but we know where we’re going to be – out in the street with thousands of people. We follow the drill, Ras is the leader, and I’m the number one soldier.”
Seventy campaign workers. On loan for a school board election.