Eleven candidates are running in the special Democratic primary for New Jersey’s 10th Congressional seat

Derek Armstead, LaMonica McIver, and nine other candidates are running in the special Democratic primary for New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District on July 16, 2024. The election is being held to fill the vacancy left by Donald Payne Jr. (D), who died on April 24, 2024. The general election will be September 18, 2024.

The winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of Payne Jr.’s term, which is set to expire on January 3, 2025.

Armstead and McIver lead in endorsements and have received the most media attention.

Armstead was first elected mayor of Linden in 2014. He defeated two-term incumbent Richard Gerbounka without the backing of the county’s Democratic Party. Before that, he served on the Linden City Council from 1993 to 2015. Armstead said if elected, he planned to “enable all CD10 residents to enjoy tax stabilization, job creation, economic development and better education for our children.”

McIver was first elected to the Newark City Council in 2018. She worked as personnel director for Montclair Public Schools and as public affairs manager for PSE&G. McIver said she was running because “she believes every individual deserves equal opportunity to achieve their full potential.”

According to Politico, the state has a “uniquely New Jersey ballot structure known as ‘the county line’ that’s underpinned state politics for generations.” Support from county party leaders could “give their candidates a distinct advantage on the primary ballot.” New Jersey’s 10th District includes three counties: Essex, Hudson, and Union. The Essex and Union county Democratic committees endorsed McIver in this race. During the Union County vote, state Senate President and county Democratic Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D) voted instead for Armstead. Linden, the town where Armstead holds mayoral office, is located in Union County while Newark, located in Essex County, is where McIver sits on the city council. The Hudson County Democratic Committee chose not to endorse any primary candidate in the race.

Payne Jr., who was unopposed, posthumously won the regular Democratic primary election for the seat. After he won, state election law dictated that Democratic Party representatives from Essex, Hudson, and Union counties would meet to choose someone to replace him on the regular general election ballot. The meeting is not expected to take place until after the July 16 special primary.

Payne Jr. was first elected in 2012 to replace his father, Donald Payne Sr. (D), who died from colon cancer in March 2012. Payne Sr. had first been elected in 1988 and was the first black House member from New Jersey.

The general election will be the first non-November special election held for a congressional seat in New Jersey since 1950, when William Widnall (R) was elected to the 7th Congressional District following J. Parnell Thomas’ conviction on corruption charges.