Home>Articles>Payne, big winner in June primary, says his voters are energized to do it again

Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. at the groundbreaking for the new Portal North Bridge. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Payne, big winner in June primary, says his voters are energized to do it again

Congressman’s reawakened operation beat Democratic challenger by huge margin

By Joey Fox, October 29 2022 7:25 pm

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) won big in his June primary election – bigger than initially seemed possible for the congressman, long one of New Jersey’s more lowkey politicians. His 84%-10% victory over challenger Imani Oakley marked the reawakening of a long-dormant political operation, and rekindled Payne’s relationships with New Jersey Democrats and his own voters. 

Asked about that victory today following a rally for Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in Rahway, Payne said he knew he needed to prove that he was no slouch when it came to campaigning or legislating.

“There were some questions about what I could do, and we just had to demonstrate our ability,” Payne said. “That’s all it was. It depends on the effort and the fight that you need to put up, how you respond. I responded, and we were successful.”

The five-term congressman added that even though his Newark-based district isn’t competitive and there aren’t any statewide races on the ballot, he’s found that his district’s voters are still energized by issues like abortion and climate change.

“There are enough issues in front of us that are engaging people all across the district,” he said. “They’re energized, whatever their issue or their reason is.”

Payne was first elected in 2012 after the death of his father, Rep. Donald Payne Sr. (D-Newark), New Jersey’s first Black congressman and the 10th district’s representative for more than two decades. His contest this year against Republican David Pinckney will undoubtedly end in a landslide victory, one that may even beat his margin in the primary.

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