William Payne takes out petitions to run for Newark City Council seat

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
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on March 06, 2014

William Payne, pictured in this file photo, is considering a run for city council


NEWARK — William Payne, patriarch of one of Newark's best known political dynasties, took out petitions this afternoon to run for an at-large council seat, according to information provided by the City Clerk's office.

Payne, 81, is a staunch supporter of mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries and is expected to run on his ticket once he gets on the ballot. The move could potentially galavnize Payne supporters in the South Ward, where the Payne family holds much of its politcal power.

That could present a problem for mayoral candidate and South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka who has been a long-time front-runner in campaign polls.

The South Ward is home to Baraka's biggest and most ardent base of support and if he is forced to fight for votes on his home turf it may draw resources from other parts of the city.

Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.), William Payne's nephew and former city council president, has yet to throw his support behind any candidate. While it is not unprecedented in city politics for members of the same family to oppose each other politically, it is rare for the Paynes to not present a united front.

Last week The Star-Ledger reported that Payne would consider running for council if it would help Jeffries.

"I'm working to make sure that Shavar Jeffries gets elected as mayor and whatever I can do to help that I'm going to do," Payne said last week. "I really believe very deeply in his campaign and what he's about. He's uniquely qualified for the job."

While the news is a major boost for Jeffries, Baraka has amassed widespread labor support which will be a significant boon on election day.

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