Newark City Councilman Donald Payne Jr. won the 10th Congressional District primary race, the AP reported. Payne will succeed his late father, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Sr., who succumbed to colon cancer in March.
The Democratic councilman secured 61 percent of the vote, with 77 percent of precincts reporting, beating out five other challengers in a heated race. His two biggest challengers, fellow Newark Councilman Ron C. Rice and state Sen. Nia Gill, had 20 percent and 14 percent of the vote respectively.
"I want to thank everyone in this room for their effort in making this day possible," Payne said to supporters at his headquarters on Bergen Street. "This is a defining moment. Never did I think that I would stand here at such an early age.
"I've said that I'm following a legacy and I'm not backing away from that," Payne continued, invoking his father. Payne, who also won a special election to carry out the remainder of his father's term, is only the second African American sent to Congress by the state of New Jersey.
The 10th District includes parts of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties.