Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), a four-term congresswoman from the 12th district and one of New Jersey’s most liberal representatives, announced today that she is endorsing Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) for re-election.
“Congressman Payne is an effective and dedicated public servant and has been a friend of mine for a long time,” Watson Colman said in a statement. “He has lived and worked in his district for his entire life, and his commitment to expanding healthcare access, creating good quality jobs, and championing accountability in law enforcement has been unstoppable.”
When Payne won election to the 10th district in 2012, he became just the second-ever Black congressperson from New Jersey; the first was Payne’s late father, Rep. Donald Payne Sr. (D-Newark). Watson Coleman made history of her own in 2014, becoming the first Black woman and first woman of color to represent New Jersey in Congress.
This year, Payne faces a spirited challenge from Imani Oakley, who has tried to run to the congressman’s left and has raised almost $400,000. But Payne, a sluggish campaigner in past years, has dramatically ramped up his operation, raising more than $800,000 and garnering key endorsements from Gov. Phil Murphy, Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and many others.
Also today, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC, the political arm of Congress’ main Hispanic coalition, endorsed Port Authority Commissioner Rob Menendez for the 8th congressional district.