Primary election: Montclair residents picking 10th, 11th District candidates
Montclair residents will go to the polls Tuesday to select Democratic and Republican nominees for this year's 10th and 11th Congressional District races.
District lines — and, for many residents, polling places — have shifted since Montclair residents last went to the polls, in a process prompted by population changes in the 2020 Census.
The new map, in effect for the next decade, leaves the southeast portion of Montclair — by and large, the township's Fourth Ward, where its greatest concentrations of Black and brown residents live — in the majority-Black 10th District, currently represented by Democrat Donald Payne. The remainder of Montclair is in the 11th District, currently represented by Democrat Mikie Sherrill.
Issues of race, culture and politics had come into play in the debate over redistricting, with the state's redistricting commission charged with weighing considerations like how to group communities of interest or line up districts with other political boundaries.
Ultimately, the changes strengthen Sherrill's standing. The 11th District had once been solidly Republican territory, but has leaned blue in recent years, demonstrated most significantly in 2018 when Sherrill beat Republican Jay Webber in the race to succeed longtime GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. The new map gives her further Democratic support across several towns. The reconfiguration also moves Sherrill into the district she represents. She owns a house in the former 10th District (in the Third Ward of Montclair), but rented a home for a time in the 11th. She moved back to the home she owns in 2019, saying she’d had difficulty selling it and that her one-year rental lease was up, but described the move as temporary at the time.
Sherrill is unopposed in the 11th District Democratic Primary. Republicans Toby Anderson, Paul DeGroot, Alexander Halter, Ruth McAndrew and Tayfun Selen are all vying for the GOP nomination to challenge her in the fall.
In the 10th District, incumbent Payne faces a challenge from progressive political activist and Montclair resident Imani Oakley. NJ.com reports Oakley's substantial fundraising in the campaign poses a significant challenge to Payne. She's also picked up several key endorsements, including by including Black Lives Matter PAC. Payne counts Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller among his endorsements.
Also seeking the Democratic nomination is sociology professor Akil Khalfani, whom NJ.com says has not reported raising any campaign funds. Republicans David Pinckney, Garth Stewart are seeking their party's nomination as well.
Longtime incumbent Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr., a Democrat, is unopposed for his party's nomination for reelection. Republican Adam Kraemer is unopposed in the race for the GOP nomination.
The new ward and election districts will apply both in the primary election and the Nov. 8 general election. Voters can find their polling place using the interactive map at Montclair's website.
There are four major changes for Montclair voters as outlined here.
Journalism like Montclair Local's is only possible because of the continued support of our members. Sustaining memberships of $10 a month or more entitle you to our print edition, and help provide us with the stable, predictable financial base that helps us plan to bring you important journalism for years to come. If you value this article or others from Montclair Local, consider becoming a sustaining member; sign up with the form below.