City Councilman Ras Baraka, son of the late poet Amiri Baraka, has been elected mayor of Newark.
A Democrat with deep roots in the city, Baraka captured 54 percent of the votes, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. His opponent, former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries, followed with 46 percent.
With the win, Baraka inherits a city with an estimated $93 million deficit and rising crime rates. The former high school principal made education and city schools a key factor of his campaign platform.
“We are mayor,” he said during a victory celebration last night. “We are the winners!” he added, reiterating a campaign pledge to take all Newark residents with him into the mayor’s office.
A Howard University graduate and poet who appeared on the interludes on Lauryn Hill’s debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill—Baraka also paid tribute to his late father Amiri, saying he knew “his spirit is in the room.”
He replaces U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who served from 2006 until last year.