South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka is forming an exploratory commitee to consider a run for mayor, he announced during today's meeting of the Newark Municipal Council.
Responding to resident Earl "Street Doctor" Best during the public comments of today's meeting, Baraka made clear he has not yet decided to run.
"When you get to the day you have to file everything will come together," said Baraka, the principal of Central High School.
Baraka is among the more outspoken council critics of Mayor Cory Booker. At last week's state of the city address Baraka and Councilwoman Mildred Crump left the stage when Booker chided the council for failing to trim its budget.
Booker's current term, his second, expires in 2014.
At his own "state of the South Ward address" a few weeks ago, Baraka, a member of the council since 2010, blasted a state plan to close some city schools. He also said Newark should do more than the current adminsitration has done to generate revenue locally, specifically by taking over Newark Liberty International Airport from the Port Authority.
During that speech, Baraka was also critical of crime-fighting efforts in his violence-plagued ward. He said he wanted more patrols provided by Essex County Sheriff's officers as well as more intense patrolling by city police in the area.