New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District, which covers most of Newark, parts of Jersey City and Bayonne and several other Essex and Union county communities, is the bluest in the state.
Some 58% of the district’s registered voters are Democrats, while only 6% are Republicans, with most of the other 35% unaffiliated with either party.
The district also has the smallest population of non-Hispanic white residents — about 19% of all — and the largest proportion of Black residents, who make up half of the total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is also the second-youngest district in the state, with residents having a median age of 36.1 years.
The victor of the Democratic primary is likely to win re-election. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. has two opponents: John J. Flora and Eugene D. Mazo.
Jennifer Zinone is the only Republican who filed.
DONALD PAYNE JR: DEMOCRAT (incumbent)
In his eighth year in office, Payne succeeded his father, Donald M. Payne Sr., who died in office in 2012. He is a former Newark Council president and former Essex County freeholder.
Currently, Payne chairs the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery. He has sponsored laws that help homeland security personnel communicate reliably during emergencies and secure public areas of airports and other transportation facilities. Payne also serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and has been advocating for funding for the Gateway Project. He is sponsoring a bill that would encourage people to trade in their firearms to receive prepaid cards.
Payne, 61, attended Kean University, where he studied graphic arts. He lives in Newark with his wife and triplets. Follow this link for more information.
JOHN J. FLORA: DEMOCRAT
The first generation of his family to graduate from college, Flora holds master’s degrees in political management and politics from George Washington University and in education from Columbia University Teachers College. Flora is a music teacher at a Jersey City middle school who was nominated for the GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year award last year.
According to his campaign website, Flora holds a number of progressive positions. He supports raising the capital gains tax to keep the national debt in check, at least six months of paid parental leave for primary caregivers and he favors the National Popular Vote effort to end the Electoral College. His support for the Green New Deal has won him the endorsement of New Jersey Youth Climate Strike and several chapters of the Sunrise Movement.
Flora and his wife have two children and live in Jersey City, where he has served as president of the parish council at his local church and a ward representative for the Keep Jersey City Beautiful Committee. Follow this link for more information.
EUGENE D. MAZO: DEMOCRAT
A professor at Rutgers Law School, Mazo was five when he came to the United States with his parents as political refugees from communist Russia. He grew up in Newark and lives there today with his family.
Mazo holds degrees from Columbia University, Harvard University, Oxford University and Stanford University, where he earned his law degree. While in college, he worked for former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley (D-NJ) and Donald Payne Sr., the father of the incumbent he is challenging in the primary. He has also written books about election law and campaign finance reform.
On his campaign website, Mazo characterizes his positions as progressive. He wants to outlaw partisan gerrymandering, increase the minimum wage, push for legislation mandating equal pay for equal work and ban members of Congress from trading stocks while in office or becoming lobbyists once they retire. Mazo also supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal or similar “bold, aggressive action” to combat climate change. Follow this link for more information.
JENNIFER ZINONE: REPUBLICAN
A lifelong Bayonne resident, Zinone studied microbiology and immunology at the University of New Hampshire. She has worked as a copywriter and in marketing communications.
She calls her positions “common sense solutions” and they range from increasing investments in education to cutting federal spending to protecting parents’ rights to “make decisions for their children without government interference,” according to her campaign website. Follow this link for more information.