Though on enthusiasm and campaign presence both campaigns seemed even, at the end of the day Newark Council President Donald Payne Jr. won the special election to complete the term of his late father the Congressman Donald Payne, taking 71% of the vote against Newark Councilman Ron Rice's 25%. Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith got 5%. Payne won the Democratic primary (60%), also contested by Rice (19%), State Senator Nia Gill (17%), and Smith (2%). Two other candidates, Dennis Flynn who ran on an "Occupy Congress" line and Carolyn Wright, a telecomm executive, received less than a thousand votes each.
Payne will face a Republican, tktkt, Joanne Miller of the "Party of Change," who got 1,080 votes in the 2010 general election, and one Mick Erickson of West Orange, though Payne is almost certain to win. His father won 85% of the vote in 2010, 99% in 2008, 100% in 2006 and 97% in 2004, and never less than 75% since he was elected in 1988. The last Republican to represent the district was Fred Hartley from 1929 to 1949, when he retired. Peter Rodino represented the district from 1949 to 1989, and Donald Payne from then until his death earlier this year.