Newark Mayor Ras Baraka comes to Jersey City as part of 2025 gubernatorial run


Newark Mayor Ras Baraka came to Jersey City as part of his 2025 gubernatorial run, giving a speech about his platform and what he’d like to change in New Jersey before opening the floor for questions.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

“It is not our intention to run a Black campaign,” James Gee, Baraka’s campaign manager, began at the King Solomon Masonic Lodge at 2 Oxford Ave. on Saturday afternoon.

He argued they will have a broad message that appeals to voters of all ethnicities, particularly those who are enduring economic hardships.

Jersey City Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore explained why he endorsed Baraka last month, citing endeavors such as turning Section 8 public housing tenants into homeowners.

“When you’re on Section 8 … you’re not supposed to prosper. They reimagined how they engage with people who participate in violence. They looked at them as a demographic that needed help,” he noted

Newark City Council President LaMonica McIver, the early favorite to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10), joined Baraka – who has endorsed her – at the event (the 10th Districts includes Wards A, B, and F in Jersey City).

“I’m here to ask for your support in the election on July 16th to send another Black woman to Congress. I want to continue to advocate for infrastructure investments … housing affordability,” she explained.

McIver also noted she wants to address rises in the cost of living and to protect women’s reproductive rights.

“We don’t have time to play for our democracy. We need people who know what they’re doing when they come to DC,” she said.

“They’re going to pigeonhole you as a Black candidate. I can’t run from it,” Baraka noted.

While acknowledging that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop is also running for governor, Baraka pointed out candidates often travel throughout the state to engage voters.

“The fact that I’m standing here makes it possible. I believe in Big Government. We want the government to protect us. We have to protect working-class families. The problem with the government is it’s too small,” he said.

He was also critical of the 15 percent NJ Transit fare hikes approved by their board last month.

“You’ll never hear people say the things I’ll say. We’re going to drag everybody to the left,” Baraka exclaimed, going on to criticize moderate Democrats in the state.

“There are people in Cape May who sleep in their cars who can’t afford to live in Cape May,” Baraka noted.

He explained many middle-class people can’t afford to live in the wealthy suburbs they’re from, so they’re moving to places like Newark and Jersey City. Baraka said this hurts those who are looking for affordable housing in those cities as well.

“Newark has one of the fastest growing rents in the nation. New Jersey is short 250,000 units,” he asserted, later claiming that Republicans like gubernatorial hopeful Jack Ciattarelli would not support more housing being built.

“They want you to believe they are leaving New Jersey because they’re being taxed. It’s too expensive to live in New Jersey. It costs too much to live here. And housing is the number one issue. Where you live in New Jersey determines how you live. Where the hell are the Democrats?”

Back in October, Fulop committed to doubling New Jersey’s housing stock, among other housing initiatives, if elected.

“The wealth gap in New Jersey is embarrassing. It would take us 200 years to fill. You could make the wealthy pay their fair share, and the state won’t fall apart,” Baraka argued.

He said he could win next year with a broad-based electoral coalition like of former President Barack Obama that included Latinos, Whites, Blacks, Asians, and moderates.

“If he can do it … we can do it in New Jersey,” Baraka declared to applause.

“If you’re a racist, you shouldn’t be in the Democratic Party. If you let them go, more will come in.”

Furthermore, Baraka broadly criticized political machines.

“I say what I want to. I’m a free man! Nobody bossed me,” he claimed.

Baraka reiterated that both working-class and middle-class residents are greatly struggling in New Jersey due to high costs, also taking aim at health insurance companies who he said gouged essential workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They don’t pay me. They’re not going to give money to my campaign, so you don’t have to worry about it,” Baraka declared.

“I don’t want to be the kingmaker. We’ve been talking about this [county] line for a thousand years. It’s good it’s gone.”

Baraka was also confident he was going to win, declaring “get on board” to conclude his speech to applause.

During a question and answer session afterwards, Phillip Carrington said Black homeownership increased in Newark under him and has declined in Jersey City under Fulop.

Baraka noted the idea of buying public property and creating a land bank helped in Newark and is something they could implement statewide.

Portside Towers activist Kevin Weller blamed Fulop for their troubles in their ongoing rent control saga, which is now in the federal court.

“Mayor Fulop will not enforce rent control. I greatly fear him becoming governor. How can you protect us from him?” he asked.

“I’m not running against any of those guys. I’m running against inequity and poverty,” Baraka replied.

For the time being, the Democratic field for the June 3rd 2025 primary consists of Baraka, Fulop and former state Senate President Steve Sweeney. U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and Mikie Sherrill (D-11) are also on the short list of contenders.

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  1. New Jersey is one of the two or three most heavily taxed states in the country. Governor Murphy has received more Federal money than any NJ politician in history. By now, we should have solved some of these issues, and simply saying tax the rich more is not the sole answer. Where are we bloated? Can services be consolidated? Can we, please, start spending less on political campaigns? Make the donors give to improvements, not shadow influence.

    This state is notoriously corrupt and overspent – I will support the first candidate who calls that out.