New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy Announces Special Election After Congressman’s Death

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy gives a speech on the Hudson River tunnel project at the West Side Yard on January 31, 2023 in New York City. President Biden traveled to New York to speak about how the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law will help fund the Hudson River tunnel project and improve reliability for the 200,000 passenger trips per weekday on Amtrak and NJ Transit. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:56 PM – Tuesday, June 4, 2024

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared on Friday that a special election will be held in the state this summer to complete the unexpired term of the late U.S. Democrat Representative Donald Payne Jr.


On April 24th, Payne (D-N.J.), 65, a native of Newark and representative for New Jersey’s 10th Congressional district, passed away while in office. Thursday was the day of his funeral.

An order that will direct a primary on July 16th and a general election on September 18th was also signed by Murphy (D-N.J.).

In order to cover the last few months of Payne’s sixth term, a special election will be held. It is distinct from the November election that is already planned for the seat’s upcoming two-year term, which begins in January.

The two biggest cities in the state, Newark and Jersey City, along with their environs, are all included in the district. Parts of the counties of Union, Hudson, and Essex are also included.

The district’s Democrat Committee members will select a new candidate to compete in the main election scheduled for November.

Meanwhile, the Essex County Democratic chair and head of the State Democratic Committee, Leroy Jones, gave a speech on Thursday at Payne’s funeral.

Though it’s not a given, the committee has historically chosen individuals who have prevailed in previous special elections via popular vote.

“The scenario is similar to 2012, when U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Sr.—Payne’s father—died in office at age 77 of colon cancer. Payne Jr., then a president of Newark’s council and an Essex County freeholder, won a special election for the remainder of his father’s term and a general election for the seat’s next two-year term,” according to, a New Jersey-based outlet.

A few hours prior to Murphy’s declaration, Rev. Charles Boyer, from the well-known advocacy group Salvation and Social Justice, urged Murphy to call for a special election in order to “honor Payne’s legacy” by defending a district that has some of the highest concentrations of Black and Hispanic citizens.

“It is the only way to prevent the seat from being decided by a few power brokers in back rooms, who may have their own agendas and interests,” Boyer told the New Jersey Globe.

According to sources close to NJ Advance Media, possible contenders for the position include state Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D-N.J.), state Senator Britnee Timberlake (D-N.J.), President LaMonica McIver of the Newark City Council, Councilman Patrick O. Council of the Newark City Council, and Commissioner A’Dorian Murray-Thomas of Essex County.

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