by David Porter
Associated Press Writer
NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—Cory Booker handily won a second term as mayor of Newark on Tuesday night and told supporters that his administration will continue to deliver change even as the city faces a difficult financial future.
“This city, this state, this nation … they ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” he bellowed to a cheering crowd at the Robert Treat Hotel. “Newark is going to continue to rise.”
The 41-year-old former Rhodes Scholar defeated three challengers May 11, including former county prosecutor Clifford Minor, who ran a distant second.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, the city clerk’s tally had Booker with more than 21,000 votes compared to about 12,500 for Minor, out of about 36,000 votes cast. The count didn’t include provisional and emergency ballots.
Four years ago, Booker won by a bigger margin, receiving 72 percent of the vote to defeat state Sen. Ronald L. Rice.
“It’s a pretty profound statement in an economy and a nation that seems to be throwing out incumbents left and right,” Booker said.
Despite successes in lowering its violent crime rate, Newark continues to struggle with gun violence and an unemployment rate that is well over the national average. Last year, Booker had to impose furloughs and pay cuts on about 2,000 city workers to close an estimated $85 million budget hole.
He vowed to focus on job creation and continue his anti-crime initiatives and streamline city government, but painted a sobering economic picture for the next few years.
“This will probably be one of the most difficult budget years we’ll be facing since the 1970s,” he said. “Anybody operating in any city in New Jersey right now, we’re all facing the same challenge: Can you keep up the same levels of city services when everything is constricted?