New Jersey governor sets July primary and September special election to fill Payne's House seat

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday set a July primary and a September general election to fill the Newark-based U.S. House seat that opened after Rep. Donald Payne Jr.'s recent death.

Murphy signed a writ of election, required under state law. The July 16 primary will be about a month after the state's regularly scheduled June 4 contest, followed by the general election Sept. 18.

The special election will determine who serves out the remainder of Payne's term, which ends Jan. 3, 2025, while the regular election process held in parallel will be for who fills the seat after that.

It's not yet clear who will be running in the heavily Democratic and majority-Black district, which is unlikely to flip as registered Republicans are outnumbered by more than 6 to 1.

Payne had already filed paperwork to run for reelection this year and is set to appear uncontested on the ballot for the regular June 4 primary. Should he win the nomination, Democratic Party committee members in his district could choose a replacement to run in the November general election.

Payne, who died April 24 of a heart attack connected to complications from diabetes, served in the House since 2012.

He succeeded his father, Donald Milford Payne, who held the seat for two decades and also died while he was a sitting congressman.