2002 Newark mayoral election

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Newark mayoral election, 2002
Flag of Newark, New Jersey.png
← 1998 May 14, 2002 2006 →
  3x4.svg Cory Booker 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Candidate Sharpe James Cory Booker
Party Non-partisan Non-partisan
Popular vote 28,300 24,800
Percentage 52.33% 46.7%

Mayor before election

Sharpe James

Elected Mayor

Sharpe James

The 2002 election for Mayor of Newark took place in Newark, the most populous city in the state of New Jersey, on May 14, 2002. Elections for all seats on the nine member Municipal Council of Newark were held the same day. A runoff election, if necessary, would have taken place. Elections in the city are non-partisan and candidates are not listed by political party. Incumbent Mayor and State Senator Sharpe James avoided a runoff and was re-elected to his fifth term in office.

This campaign was the subject of the 2005 documentary Street Fight. Booker would later be elected Mayor of Newark for nearly two terms. After having won the October 16 special election for U.S. Senator he resigned as mayor and was sworn in on October 31, 2013 as the junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey.[1] He is running for President in 2020.


The deadline for candidates to file for election was April 14.


  • Cory Booker, Newark City Councilman
  • Sharpe James, State Senator and incumbent Mayor of Newark
  • Dwayne Smith, businessman and former law enforcement officer

Though all elections are non-partisan, all candidates are registered Democrats and Newark is a heavily Democratic city.


The election was noted for its acrimony and attacks by both candidates. James called Booker "a Republican who took money from the KKK [and] Taliban ... [who's] collaborating with the Jews to take over Newark".[2][3] Booker focused on James's reputation for corruption.

One focus of the campaign was race. Booker, who is of mixed black and European ancestry and was raised in the wealthy suburbs, was accused of insufficient connection to the city's impoverished, majority-black voters.[4]


Cory Booker
National elected officials
Sharpe James
National elected officials
State elected officials
  • Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader and candidate for President in 1984 and 1988
  • Al Sharpton, civil rights leader and frequent candidate for public office from New York


If no candidate received 50% of the vote, the race would have continued to a run-off between the top two candidates from the first round.

James received 52.95 percent of the total vote, securing re-election.


  1. ^ Lee, Eunace (October 30, 2013). "See Cory Booker's resignation letter as he bids farewell to Newark City Hall, goes to Washington". The Star-Ledger. nj.com. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  2. ^ Arianna Huffington (April 30, 2002). "The madness of Newark's King James". Salon. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  3. ^ Seth Mnookin. "The New Natural". New York.
  4. ^ Damien Cave (May 4, 2006). "In a Debate of Newark Mayoral Candidates, Some Agreement and a Lot of Discord". The New York Times.

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