Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) backs his son for Congress in the 10th District, not necessarily a newsflash unless one considers the history, wherein the Rices at times have fought on separate sides of citywide wars, most notably in 2006, when the younger Rice ran on a ticket with Newark Mayor Cory Booker against the mayoral team of his father.
A proud independent brand, the elder Rice said he intends to forcefully throw himself behind his son’s candidacy.
“I am backing Ron,” the senator told PolitickerNJ.com. “He is qualified and capable. He is a student of political science and law school graduate, and I have watched him earn his right to be an elected official as a councilman in the city of Newark. he is well respected throughout the state and it makes sense for him to run.”
Never a party organization man in the strictest sense, Rice acknowledged that it would be difficult for Councilman Rice to get the A Line in Essex County, where Newark Council President Donald Payne Jr. has an organizational advantage as the son of the late Congressman Donald Payne. But Rice said he is confident his son can overcome a ballot disadvantage on Election Day.
“The people’s focus needs to be on two candidates: Obama for president and the candidate. Part of the message to voters will be to go for Obama’s name and then take their time to seek out the candidate for Congress.”
Another challenge his son faces is the presence in the contest of another often anti-establishment lawmaker with solid name ID, state Sen. Nia Gill (D-34). “It would be good for them to get together,” said the older Rice, but did not appear to believe it would happen.
Finally, he said his son is the best candidate because the councilman has the same propensity as his father to cut against entrenched power structures.
“No one controls him; the reality is Ron speaks for the people moreso than special interest groups,” the senator said. “His heart is in it. He’s not running because someone asked him to run. His record of service at the local level speaks for itself. I anticipate doing whatever I can do out there for him. If he were elected, he would be good for the people and good for the president. People will spend a lot of money in this campaign but they will not have his independence.”