Paynes to hold press conference on Newark mayoral race today

Sources have told PolitickerNJ.com that U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-10) will hold an 11 a.m. press conference at the Robert Treat Hotel to discuss his family’s forthcoming role in the Newark mayoral race.

It is uncertain if Essex County deputy chief of staff and former state Assemblyman William D. Payne will be present, sources say. 

The former assemblyman, who is the congressman’s uncle, endorsed former state Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries last month and agreed to serve as the Jeffries campaign co-chairperson.

PolitickerNJ.com reported earlier this month that Congressman Payne, who replaced his father, Donald M. Payne Sr., in the Tenth Congressional District in 2012 following the longtime Congressman’s death, is seriously considering backing Jeffries in the Newark mayoral race.

A potential Payne family endorsement of Jeffries could shift the race’s momentum, which some political observers believe favor Jeffries’ rival in the campaign, South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka. 

Baraka has been endorsed by a slew of labor unions, as well as Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate. 

Several sources have told PolitickerNJ.com that U.S. Rep. Payne, Jr. is facing pressure from labor union representatives to stay out of the race and focus on his own re-election bid. But the decades-long rivalry between the Payne and Baraka families, two Newark political dynasties that share the same South Ward fiefdom, could prove too strong to keep the congressman on the sideline in Newark’s May municipal election. 

A press conference that was to be held March 10 by the Jeffries campaign with the Paynes was cancelled less than two hours before it was supposed to start, citing a conflict in Congressman Payne’s schedule. 

Paynes to hold press conference on Newark mayoral race today