Payne was running for re-election in NJ's 10th Congressional District that had recently been expanded to include the southern half of Bloomfield. He was faced with a potential challenge from Ronald C. Rice, son of NJ State Senator, Ronald Rice. In a eulogy on his Facebook page, the Junior Mr. Rice issued the following statement:
Congressman Donald Payne was more than a son of Newark. He was an icon who was not only a trailblazer for New Jersey, but also a pioneer who made a real difference in the lives of all Americans, particularly African-Americans. What barriers existed, he helped tear down and showed future generations that the promise of America was accessible to all of us. I am truly in his debt, for I would not be here without him. God bless the Payne family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.President Obama has ordered flags at the White House to be lowered to half staff, and Governor Christie has ordered the same throughout the state.