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Murphy, Baraka decry Amazon reports as 'speculation'

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Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy together at a June 27 press conference, in support of Murphy's 2019 budget.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy together at a June 27 press conference, in support of Murphy's 2019 budget. - ()

Gov. Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka cast as “speculation” published reports that Amazon has chosen sites in New York and Virginia for its second North American headquarters, bypassing New Jersey’s largest city.

Baraka, appearing at a press conference Wednesday with the governor to discuss the previous day’s midterm elections, decried media reports saying Amazon chose to split its HQ2 between Arlington, Va., and Long Island City, N.Y. And Murphy said that much of this week’s fervor about Amazon has been “a lot of speculation.”

“It’s not over until it’s over,” Baraka told NJBIZ. “Amazon, [CEO] Jeff Bezos, hadn’t made the call yet. So that’s the one that counts, that’s the one that matters.”

Baraka said he has not been in touch with anyone from Amazon since a Nov. 3 report from the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder Bezos, that the e-commerce giant has been in advanced talks with officials at Crystal City, Va., just south of Washington D.C., about the second headquarters. The New York Times later reported the company was looking at a split HQ2 in Virginia and New York.

Amazon would not confirm to NJBIZ whether it planned to split new headquarters between New York and Virginia, only saying it would make its decision public by the end of the year.

Murphy said Newark’s place among the 20 finalists for HQ2 itself been a major boost for the city.

“No matter what Amazon ends up doing … it sharpened our game, it brought us closer together in our teams,” Murphy said. “New York, Chicago, they face 100-mile-per-hour fastballs every day in terms of corporate interest. Newark hasn’t had that until [Bezos] came along.”

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz


Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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