Candidates Line Up to Fill Donald Payne’s House Seat

Candidates Line Up to Fill Donald Payne’s House Seat

Four candidates — including the late congressman's son, Newark City Council President Donald M. Payne Jr. — are vying to become New Jersey's second African-American representative.

Published April 3, 2012

(Photo: City of Newark)

Newark City Council President Donald M. Payne, Jr. is one of four candidates hoping to fill his late father’s congressional seat, which became vacant when the elder Payne lost his battle with colon cancer on March 6. The 12-term congressman was the first and only African-American to represent New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives.


His competition includes fellow councilman Ronald Rice, also a legacy and son of state Sen. Ronald Rice; state Sen. Nia Gil; and Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, all of whom are also African-American.


The fault lines are already forming, according to a report on the website, forcing local lawmakers to take sides. Payne’s next political move was supposed to be a bid to become Newark’s next mayor. Two of his colleagues, council members Ras Baraka and Darrin Sharif, have thrown their support behind Rice because they believe he’s “the only candidate in this race with a true vision for the future of Newark and the 10th District as a whole," they said in a joint statement.



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Written by Joyce Jones


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