Jersey City teacher John Flora has announced that he will challenge Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) for the Democratic congressional nomination in New Jersey’s 10th district.
Flora says he will run as a progressive alternative to Payne, a five-term Democrat who won the seat in 2012 after his father, Donald M. Payne, died after nearly 24 years in Congress.
A music teacher and GRAMMY-nominated musician, Floria says he’ll focus his campaign on support for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, gun reform and universal pre-K.
Flora released a short campaign video, which appears to attack legendary former House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter W. Rodino, Jr. (D-Newark) as a career politician. Rodino represented the district from 1949 to 1989 and chaired the House impeachment proceedings that sought to oust Richard Nixon from the presidency.
He also attacks Payne’s voting attendance record but does not acknowledge the congressman was dealing with some personal health issues that led to some missed votes.
Flora becomes the third Democrat to express an interest in challenging Payne in the Democratic primary.
Stephen Green, the 27-year-old pastor of Heard AME Church in Roselle and former NAACP youth director, has already formed an exploratory committee.
Rutgers University Law Professor Eugene Mazo, an election law expert, is reportedly also considering a challenge to Payne.
Flora is the president of the Our Lady of Mercy Church Parish Council and the Jersey City Ward A representative for the Keep Jersey City Beautiful Committee.
Payne, a former Essex County Freeholder and Newark City Councilman, became the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery. He also holds a seat on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
He had $92,002 cash-on-hand in July, when he filed his most recent Federal Election Commission report.
Flora says he is seeking small individual contributions to contrast Payne’s reliance on political action committees.
The 10th district, which includes parts of Essex, Hudson and Union counties, is among the most heavily Democratic in the country.