Donald Payne Jr, Democratic congressman from New Jersey, dies

Rep Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), pictured on 12 March 2024 in Washington, DC. He died on Wednesday aged 65  (Getty Images for Fight Colorecta)
Rep Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), pictured on 12 March 2024 in Washington, DC. He died on Wednesday aged 65 (Getty Images for Fight Colorecta)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Representative Donald Payne Jr, a Democrat from New Jersey, died on Wednesday at the age of 65.

Earlier this month, Mr Payne’s office said that he had been hospitalised over a “cardiac episode” due to diabetes but said that he was in “stable condition.”

Payne first assumed office in 2012 when he won a special election in New Jersey’s 10th district. He succeeded his father, the late Donald Payne Sr, after he died. Prior to that, Mr Payne Jr served on the Newark Municipal Council.

He was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and voted with President Joe Biden 100 per cent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, issued a statement with his condolences.

“It was my great honor to work side-by-side with Donald to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey, and we will hold his memory close to our hearts as we build upon the Payne family’s deep legacy of service in advocating for the communities they served so dearly,” he said in a statement.

New Jersey’s Democratic primary will take place on 4 June. It’s not entirely clear when a special election will take place to replace the congressman.

Mr Payne’s death takes Democrats’ minority down to 212 and gives Republicans in the House of Representatives a two-seat instead of a one-seat majority. Representative Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, resigned his seat on Saturday.

New Jersey has seen a number of political earthquakes in recent months. Bob Menendez, the state’s senior Democratic senator, was indicted on corruption charges in late 2023, prompting calls for his resignation.

In the race to replace Mr Menendez, Democratic Representative Andy Kim and Tammy Murphy, first lady of New Jersey, squared off in the Democratic primary before Ms Murphy suspended her campaign. Mr Menendez later said that he would not seek re-election but that if his charges were cleared, he might run as an independent.