Dead Democrat wins primary in New Jersey weeks after his death

County officials are expected to choose a new nominee for the November election following primary certification.

Dead Democrat wins primary in New Jersey weeks after his death
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
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Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) emerged victorious in the Democratic Party's primary in New Jersey on Tuesday, despite having passed away more than a month ago at the age of 65 following a heart attack. Payne, who was the sole House candidate for the 10th Congressional District on the primary ballot, secured the nomination posthumously, while Carmen Bucco won the Republican primary in the heavily Democratic district, the Daily Wire reported.

County officials from the Democratic Party are expected to convene before August to select a new nominee for the November election once the primary results are certified on June 17, according to the New Jersey Globe. Additionally, a special election is underway to determine who will serve the remainder of Payne's term, with a primary scheduled for July 16 and a general election on September 18.

At least a dozen candidates, including 11 Democrats and Bucco, are vying for the seat in the special election.

Payne, a six-term congressman, suffered a heart attack on April 6 and was hospitalized. On April 24, officials announced his passing. At the time of his death, Payne was already in the midst of a campaign for another two-year term in the House, and his name had been printed on the primary ballots prior to his untimely demise.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) expressed condolences on behalf of the House, stating, "We are saddened to be informed of the passing today of Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., who had been serving New Jersey's 10th Congressional District since 2012, and who succeeded his father in the same position. Our prayers are offered today for his family and friends, and especially his wife, Bea, and their three children."

In the interim, Payne's congressional office remains staffed by his former employees under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, as noted on the office's website. Constituents of the district are encouraged to contact the interim office for information and assistance.

The current composition of the House stands at 218 Republicans and 213 Democrats, with four vacancies, including Payne's former seat and those left by the resignations of Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Ken Buck (R-CO), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) in recent months. This week, Vince Fong was sworn in as a GOP lawmaker, replacing former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

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