Payne, Jr. to seek CD 10 seat

Newark Council President Donald Payne, Jr, will seek his late father’s Congressional seat in the 10th District.

“I am running,” Payne told “After lots of thought and discussion with my family, we think it is the right thing to do to continue his legacy.”

Insiders say Payne anticipates line A support in Essex County, home to the lion’s share of the Tenth District.

Earlier today, the Star-Ledger reported that state Sen. Nia Gill (D-34), Montclair, intends to run.

Sources say Payne will have the decided edge over Gill in securing the coveted party line in Essex. That would put Payne in the position of running on the line with President Barack Obama, and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in a district dominated by Democratic Party stronghold Newark.

The same sources say Gill’s close relationship with state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20) will give her an edge for establishment support in Union County, where far fewer CD 10 districts are concentrated.

The Hudson portion of the district is a larger question mark at present.

Progressive leader West Ward Councilman Ronald C. Rice – one of the first elected officials in New Jersey to support Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential bid – is another candidate seeking the nomination. 

Late Friday, sources told that Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith continued to circulate petitions toward his own bid.

“We’re going to position ourselves to get in the campaign,” said Smith. “It’s early. I was born and raised in Newark. My story is similar to the Congressman’s. I’m not the child of any political player. I earned my way, and we’re going forward.” 

Another name that circulated as a possible replacement in the days following the congressman’s death was that of Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34).

The speaker could not be reached for comment today, but a source close to Oliver told she is not likely to run against Payne. She has too long a history and too much respect for the Payne family to oppose Donald, Jr., said the source. 

Payne, Jr. to seek CD 10 seat