NEWARK, N.J. – In a closely contested run-off City Council election held here June 11, independent progressive candidate Ras Baraka was denied a seat as a Councilman-at-Large by a mere 85 votes. In these run-off elections, eight at-large City Council candidates were competing over four seats. Baraka came in fifth with 8,805 votes, which was 85 votes short of the 8,920 obtained by Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins, an incumbent City Council member.

David Muhammed, a leading member of Baraka’s campaign team, told the World that he “is definitely going to call for a recount,” and added that due to certain perceived irregularities, the campaign is “also exploring the possibility of other legal actions.” Noting that all those elected in the run-off elections on June 11 were incumbents, Muhammed said that it seems “the present city administration in Newark does not want any independent-minded newcomers to the Council.”

Baraka has been running a popular grassroots campaign based on African-American, Latino and white unity, with a strong base among the youth across the city. Regardless of the ultimate outcome of the June 11 elections, it seems that he has mustered enough popular support to have a visible and continuing impact on the City’s political life in the coming years.