Donald Payne Jr., the son of the late Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), easily defeated five other Democrats in a primary Tuesday, giving him a clear path to the House seat his father held until his death in March.
Payne consolidated 60 percent of the vote despite being in a six-way race, with 79 percent of precincts reporting. Ron Rice Jr., a Newark city councilman, came in second with 20 percent. State Sen. Nia Gill came in third with 15 percent.
"This was quite a sudden shock for the family," Payne said of his father's death after a short battle with cancer. "Just going through the process and looking at the work that the congressman didn't finish, I thought as his son, I was in the best position to continue what he had done for the 10th congressional district over the years."
The district is heavily Democratic – President Obama won there with 85 percent of the vote in 2008 – meaning Payne will almost certainly be the district’s next congressman. Brian Kelemen ran unopposed in the Republican primary and will face Payne in the general election.
Two elections are technically taking place for Payne’s seat: a special election to fill the vacancy for the final few months of the term, and a general election for the new term starting in 2013. Because both are being conducted simultaneously, the results are expected to mirror each other.