Newark Council President Could Serve as City’s Mayor if Booker Wins Senate Race

If Cory Booker wins his bid for U.S. Senate, Luis Quintana could become Newark’s mayor because he was elected president of the city council. Quintana told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he has no plans to run for mayor of Newark, but wants to bring peace to the city’s government and serve the people.

The council will decide if there will be a special election should Booker become a senator. Quintana said he can’t speak on behalf of council members, but pointed out a vacancy would only exist after Booker would be certified. “There will be a period of an acting mayor until the council can decide who will be the mayor to finish the term to July 1, 2014,” he said.

Quintana said he wants to bring peace to many areas of Newark for all people, regardless of their ethnicity. “I’m tired of going to these wakes for African-Americans and Latinos, young people being shot on the streets of our city,” he said. “I want to bring everybody together. It’s not just about myself. … It’s about the citizens of Newark and all of us working together.”

Although Quintana has a passion for serving Newarkers, he said he won’t be running for mayor. “My ambition is to continue serving this city as a legislative member of the legislative body,” he said. “I’m not running for mayor.”

With Booker running for Senate and several council members launching campaigns to take over as mayor, some may think the they have become a distraction. “Every candidate that’s running is a good candidate. And I respect all candidates running. And I respect their decisions,” Quintana said.

He said after hours, candidates can focus on their campaigns but during the morning and afternoon when they’re at City Hall, they should talk about bettering Newark. “We should talk about how we’re gonna turn the city around. What we’re gonna do, not on a political banner but on the banner of what we can do for people and giving them a good government,” he said.