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Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-Newark). (Photo: Rep. Donald Payne.)

Payne wins re-election in 10th congressional district

After prevailing in Democratic primary, congressman was safe for another term

By Joey Fox, November 08 2022 8:29 pm

The New Jersey Globe projects that Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) has won re-election, easily defeating Republican David Pinckney in the solidly Democratic 10th congressional district.

Payne’s father, Rep. Donald Payne Sr. (D-Newark), was New Jersey’s first-ever Black member of Congress, representing the Newark-based 10th district for more than two decades. When he died in 2012, Payne Jr. – then the president of the Newark City Council – easily won the race to succeed him in New Jersey’s only majority-Black district.

After flying under the radar for years, Payne ran into some trouble in 2021. First, he was caught in an embarrassing Zoom incident that summer; soon afterwards, he drew a seemingly serious primary challenge from Imani Oakley, who had worked as a staffer for various campaigns and politicians.

Recognizing that he could be under threat, Payne kicked his political operation back into gear for the 2022 primary, raising more money than he ever had before and re-establishing his connections with New Jersey Democrats across the ideological spectrum.

The end result spoke for itself: Payne won 84% of the vote, a testament to the strength of his revamped campaign.

Pinckney, meanwhile, beat Garth Stewart 83%-17% in the Republican primary. But given that the 10th district is among the 20 most Democratic congressional districts in the entire country, the general election contest between Pinckney and Payne was always something of an afterthought. 

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