If Payne plays, will he pay?

This Inside Edge item starts with a disclaimer: the information on the 28th and 29th district legislative races is believed to be accurate at the time it was being written. But things could change before the publish button is hit. That’s how fluid these Newark-based districts are right now. William Payne took his mini-campaign for the Democratic State Senate nomination on the road today, stumping for votes on the Chamber of Commerce train trip to Washington, D.C. His push for the Senate seat that Sharpe James may or may not give up appears to have annoyed several factions within the Democratic Party, placing his Assembly seat — and the one held by his nephew, Craig Stanley, in the 29th district — in jeopardy. If Payne continues his campaign for the Senate, it could cause some groups of Democrats to create alliances with other groups of Democrats, and leave no room for him to jump back into the Assembly seat he has held since 1995. Stanley could be a casualty of Payne’s effort, says one Newark political insider. North Ward Democrats — which means powerful insider Stephen Adubato, Sr. — are supporting Teresa Ruiz, the 32-year-old Deputy Chief of Staff to the Essex County Executive, as their candidate for State Senate. That likely means City Councilmen Luis Quintana and Anibal Ramos are not Senate bound, at least right now. Booker would like to send his Deputy Campaign Manager, Grace Spencer, to the State Assembly in the 29th district. The 36-year-old Spencer is a former Assistant Newark Corporation Counsel, Newark Special Prosecutor, and aide to the City Council President. She would take the seat of incumbent Wilfredo Caraballo, who is expected to be dumped from the Essex Democratic line. If Payne is replaced, two possible candidates are former Assemblyman Albert Couhtino and former Essex County Surrogate Maria Vizcarrondo-De Soto, who serves as Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s Director of Child and Family Well Being. In the 28th district, some Democrats are expressing concern that Essex County Freeholder and Irvington Councilman Bilal Beasley isn’t strong enough to defeat longtime State Senator Ronald Rice, even with the organization line and the backing of Booker. Booker is sticking with Beasley at this time. The plan seems to be for Stanley on the Beasley line with Essex County Freeholder (and former Assemblyman) Ralph Caputo, who would replace incumbent Oadline Truitt. If Stanley is replaced, Booker seems inclined to support Cleopatra Tucker, whose late husband held the Assembly seat, and a seat on the Newark City Council, until his death in 2005. Stanley could run with Rice, setting up an alliance with Congressman Donald Payne’s powerful political family.

If Payne plays, will he pay?