New Jersey voters will fill seats in the United States House of Representatives in all twelve legislative districts in November, plus one Senate seat. This column will attempt to provide at least a snapshot of each of the twenty-six major party candidates in these races. Any reader who would like to see coverage of any third-party candidate in any of these races should please contact the author with at least the identity of the candidate and the race in which he is running.
This article covers the major candidates in the 10th legislative district; the entire series will be indexed here as articles are added.
The 10th Congressional District includes southeastern Essex County, the eastern edge Union County, and part of southern Hudson County, including parts of both Jersey City and Newark.
Incumbent Democrat Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., is in his first term; he took the seat from his father, Congressman Donald M. Payne (also a Democrat), who had held the office from 1989 until his death in 2012. He serves on the Homeland Security and the Small Business Committees. He has a strong tendency to vote the Democratic party line. He strongly favors abortion as an unrestricted right, the LGBT agenda, green energy development, and expanding the Affordable Care Act; in economics he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and use government stimulus rather than market-led recovery programs, and opposes free trade. He opposes school choice, tougher criminal penalties, expanding the military, and gun rights.
His Republican opponent, Yolanda Dentley, is just beginning to launch her campaign; her Dentley for Congress web site went live this week. Prior to that, her primary presence on the Internet was through the Yolanda Dentley for Congress Facebook page. She has been Vice Principal of the Union Avenue Middle School in Roselle, and speaks of working together across party lines to accomplish objectives. We interviewed her recently, and so her positions can be found in Yolanda Dentley, New Jersey 10th district Republican Congressional candidate, linked below. She considers herself a moderate Republican, and holds liberal views on a number of issues. She also notes that Democrats have held the congressional seat for over sixty years, and the district has not done well during that time.
This is the only New Jersey district in which black voters represent more than half the population; the next nearest is less than a fifth black. Fewer than a third of the district's voters are white, and there is an above average Hispanic presence. Typically New Jersey districts show more women than men by about two to three percentage points (only one district has more men than women), but this district has the largest disparity at twice that. It also has the highest unemployment rate in the state, and the lowest median household income. It ties for lowest high school graduation rate and has the second worst college graduation rate. The district has been represented by not merely a Democrat but a member of the Payne family for decades. The incumbent Payne took the Democratic primary with ninety percent of the vote against three opponents. At present the question is whether a black woman who is a Republican and an educator can defeat a black man who is a Democrat, an incumbent, and a career politician from a political family.
The author is attempting to contact all candidates in New Jersey Congressional races, and will in the weeks ahead provide featured coverage of those who respond.