Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the nation’s largest gun safety advocacy groups, has declared Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-Newark) the “Gun Sense Candidate.”
Payne was lauded for his support of universal background checks, an assault weapon ban, and a nationwide gun buyback program. Everytown also pointed to Payne’s “F” rating from the National Rifle Association.
“Now more than ever, we need our elected leaders to stand up to the gun lobby.” said Payne calling for action against not just mass shootings but also “everyday gun violence” in places like Newark.
The designation comes after two prominent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. While the announcement is not an official endorsement, it does send a clear message to the group’s supporters to vote for Payne in the June 7th primary.
Payne’s father held the Newark based seat for over 20 years until his death in 2012. He was succeeded by his son, a former Essex County Commissioner and Newark City Councilman.
Now, he’s in the midst of a primary contest from progressive challenger Imani Oakley. The challenge comes despite Payne having one of the most progressive voting records in the New Jersey delegation. Also seeking the Democratic nomination is Essex County College professor Akil Khalfani.
Payne has the backing of Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the House Progressive caucus, the New Jersey Working Families Party, and has run the table on labor unions.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), one of the most powerful black political leaders in the nation, will join Payne and local labor leaders in Newark on June 2 for a “Rally for Progress.”