Thursday, May 11, 2006

‘Light-skinned’ Booker wins
Newark Elects First New Mayor in 2 Decades

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Cory Booker, a 37-year-old former Rhodes scholar, became Newark's first new mayor in two decades by a landslide Tuesday, ushering in a new era for the struggling city.

Booker swamped his nearest challenger, state Sen. Ronald L. Rice, taking 72 percent of the vote compared with 24 percent for the lawmaker in the nonpartisan election…

Booker's resounding win marks a generational change of black leadership in a city trying to turn around decades of urban decay…

Mayor Sharpe James, 70, announced in March that he would not seek a sixth term.

Booker, a former city councilman, lost to James in 2002, falling 3,500 votes short out of about 56,000 cast in a nasty race chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary film "Street Fight."

Earlier Tuesday, after casting his vote, Booker, a Yale Law School graduate and former Stanford University football player, said he wasn't expecting a landslide victory: "We'll be happy just to win this election. If we win by 5 percent, it's a significant victory."…

By rejecting Rice, a longtime Newark politician endorsed by James, voters also rejected James' legacy, said Clement Alexander Price, a history professor at the Newark campus of Rutgers University…

Both Booker and James are black. But during the 2002 election, James' supporters criticized the light-skinned Booker as not sufficiently black. Some of that bitterness remained on Tuesday, as reflected by anti-Booker signs urging people to "vote black."

"Don't waste your vote on folks who will not and cannot represent you!" said the signs, which were posted on utility poles…

"Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor."
Elizabeth I


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