U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) this evening announced his support for a Unity Leadership Team for the South Ward Democratic Committee, which didn’t end up materializing by the end of tonight’s meeting, as Mayor-elect Ras Baraka dominated off his May citywide victory.
Payne was long a backer of Lee Fisher, whose party leadership tenure ended tonight.
“Today, I am pleased to join with Mayor-elect Ras Baraka in supporting the Unity Leadership Team for the South Ward Democratic Committee,” Payne said in a statement prior to the vote.
The team as envisioned by Payne consisted of Patrick Council for chairman; Donyea Hoffman, 1st vice chair; and Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-29), 2nd vice-chair.
By evening’s end, only Council made the cut.
His emergence onto the political scene has an interesting political back story.
Backers of Mayor-elect Baraka had originally positioned Council – a popular youth sports coach – for a South Ward council candidacy.
But At-Large Councilman John Sharpe James bumped him on the strength of name ID.
Council lost his at-large bid and now returns as the South Ward Democratic leader – one sources speculates – as repayment for his willingness to change direction from his initial intent to run for the South Ward council seat.
Updated: Ernest Turner and Evelyne Williams – Baraka backers – beat Hoffman and Spencer for the second and third seats tonight, in what one source at the meeting described as a Baraka coup.