State Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), the highest-ranking Newark politician in state politics, announced today that she is endorsing Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) for another term in Congress.
“Congressman Payne has been a champion for education, childcare, and so many other issues that directly impact working families in New Jersey,” Ruiz said in a statement. “We need representatives like Donald Payne in Washington advocating for our communities and working to increase equity in public education.”
Serving in Congress since a 2012 special election to replace his late father, Payne was for years a lowkey representative who did not raise much money or run active re-election campaigns. But faced this year with a potentially competitive primary against Imani Oakley, Payne stepped up his game, regularly notching new endorsements and raising his largest single-quarter fundraising haul ever.
Ruiz, who is generally regarded as one of the more liberal members of the state legislature, is the latest progressive-aligned politician to back Payne; also on the list are Gov. Phil Murphy, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), and Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).