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Voters Focused On Curbing Crime As Newark Mayoral Election Looms

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NEWARK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — Newark is getting ready to pick its path in the post-Cory Booker era.

On May 13, voters will head to the polls for the first time since their mayor moved on the U.S. Senate, and as the election looms a battle is brewing between the two main candidates.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries (D) has been flooding television with political ads paying special attention to violence in the city which has reached its worst level in two decades.

“My mother was killed when I was young so I understand what it means to be touched by violence,” Jeffries said.

Councilman Ras Baraka (D) is the other candidate, but has not run many ads. He said that’s because political bosses with ties to Governor Chris Christie are funding the Jeffries campaign.

“Just because you were a victim of tragedy also doesn’t mean you are qualified to be mayor. My brother was shot in the head. My sister was killed through domestic violence,” he said.

Jeffries admitted to getting money from many groups but said that he isn’t close to Christie, it’s part of one of the many ugly battle between the two candidates.

On Thursday, Baraka was allowed into an annual senior citizen’s fashion show, but Jeffries was not. Organizers say it’s a non-political event featuring only sitting council members.

Instead Jeffries handed out fliers outside.

“I think that is unfair and that is a shame,” he said.

Few people at the show were talking about the candidates, but residents told CBS 2’s Sloan that they have had enough of the violence.

“I raised them up, sent two to college, and brought them back home. If you had parents like me you would have a good city,” Willie Mae Crawford said.

The two candidates have different stances on the issue; Jeffries wants more cops while Baraka wants the city to rely on existing officers and state police to fight crime.

The former, disgraced mayor of Newark, Sharpe James, supports Baraka whose father was former Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka.

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