New Jersey House Democrat Donald Payne Jr. Dies At 65
Rep Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Co-Chair of the Colorectal Cancer Caucus, speaks at the Fight Colorectal Cancer "United in Blue" flag installation on the National Mall to spotlight the rise in young adult Colorectal cancer cases on March 12, 2024 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fight Colorectal Cancer)

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), a Newark mainstay who served in the seat once held by his father, has died at the age of 65, Governor Phil Murphy and Payne’s office announced on Wednesday.

“Tammy and I are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of our friend, and a steadfast champion for the people of New Jersey, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr.,” Murphy said in a statement revealing the lawmaker’s death.

It was previously known that the six-term congressman had been experiencing health problems and was hospitalized earlier this month. Payne’s office said in a statement following Murphy’s announcement on Wednesday that Payne had “experienced a physical accident at home on April 6, 2024, which necessitated hospitalization.”

As Payne received treatment “for this health issue, he faced medical complications due to diabetes and high blood pressure that led to subsequent cardiorespiratory arrest. Despite the dedicated efforts of the medical staff to treat him and improve his health, they were unable to prevent his passing unfortunately,” the statement added.

“With his signature bowtie, big heart, and tenacious spirit,” as Murphy put it, Payne spent years of his life in public service working as a union worker, Newark City Council president, and member of the Essex County Board of Commissioners. Payne won election in 2012 to take the House seat that had been held by his father, Donald Payne Sr., until he died of colon cancer at age 77 after 25 years in Congress.

“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,” Murphy said in his statement.

“Donald’s love will live on in the homes of his neighbors in Newark, who now have access to safe drinking water, and in the good-paying jobs he helped create for his brothers and sisters in labor,” he added. “And it will live on in his wife Beatrice, and their three children, Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne, who were the pride of his life. Our heartfelt prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Payne’s death comes as primary voting is underway in his state. The New Jersey Globe reported that Payne, whose name is on the ballot, will likely win unless a write-in campaign defeats him. County officials from his party can call a convention and pick a new nominee after the results are certified and a vacancy is declared.

In terms of House business, Payne’s absence could have an impact on close votes. The chamber is already narrowly divided, with Republicans holding a slim majority. It was not immediately clear whether there will be a special election to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the two-year term won by Payne in 2022.

Members of Congress reacted to the news of Payne’s death, including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA).


“Deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Donald Payne Jr., a good friend, highly effective public servant and compassionate leader,” Jeffries said on X. “My prayers and support are with the Payne family and his loved ones during this difficult time. May he forever Rest in Peace.”

“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,” Johnson said in a post to X. “Our prayers are offered today for his family and friends, and especially his wife, Bea, and their three children.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  New Jersey House Democrat Donald Payne Jr. Dies At 65