Two Newark mayoral hopefuls officially dropped out of the race Wednesday, narrowing down the field to two remaining candidates for the May election.
In separate announcements at the Best Western Robert Treat Hotel, North Ward councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr. and Central Ward councilman Darrin Sharif removed themselves from the race, effectively setting up a two-man race between South Ward councilman Ras Baraka and former assistant state Attorney General Shavar Jeffries.
Sharif told reporters that his decision to withdraw came after an “honest assessment” of his campaign’s ability to raise the resources needed for a city-wide election.
In stepping down, Ramos threw his support behind Jeffries. Sharif did not indicate if he would be supporting another candidate.
“This is the most difficult decision that I’ve had to make in my political career because serving all residents as mayor of this great city where I was born and raised has always been my dream,” Ramos, who also announced that he would be running for re-election in the North Ward, said in a statement. “However, after much reflection and soul searching, I’ve come to the conclusion that withdrawing is what’s best to move Newark in a new direction.”
Jeffries welcomed the support of Ramos, adding that the two often find themselves on the same side of issues concerning economic development, public safety and education.
“He is highly regarded and respected by voters throughout the city,” Jeffries said in the statement. “I am both honored and excited to work with him and look forward to his advice and counsel as we move forward to collectively serve our great city.”
Though Baraka did not pick an endorsement from either departing candidate, he did receive support this week from former state Sen. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono.
“Ras Baraka embodies the best of what we want in our elected officials,” Buono said in a statement. “He is a strong, independent voice who is committed to helping the people of Newark rather than the interests of a select few.”
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