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State News: Congressional Wrap-Up [Poll]

Congressional races in Essex County had few surprises. Let us know if you voted yesterday.

Donald Payne Jr., the Newark Council President and the son of the deceased congressman bearing the same name, became the Democratic nominee for his father's seat on Tuesday. He will square off against Republican Brian C. Keleman of Bayonne in November to represent parts of Essex, Union and Hudson counties.

Payne surpassed Newark Councilman Ronald Rice, who came in second and Assemblywoman Nia Gill (D-Essex), who ran strong in Hudson County. Neither Rice nor Gill could not muster enough votes to beat Payne, who had the endorsement of the Essex County Democratic political machine. Payne will also fill his father's unexpired term that was left vacant when Donald Payne Sr. died of colon cancer in March.

The six-way race was one of the most heavily-watched in the state.

Rodney P. Frelinghuysen was handily chosen as the Republican nominee for the 11th Congressional District -- which stretches across Morris and western Essex County -- a seat he has held for more than 20 years. He will face former Roseland Mayor John Arvanites, the Democratic nominee, in the fall.

The 11th District includes the Essex County communities of Cedar Grove, Montclair, Nutley, Bloomfield, West Caldwell, Verona, North Caldwell, Fairfield, West Orange, Millburn, Livingston, Caldwell and Essex Fells.

Albio Sires, another incumbent, got the Democratic nod for the 8th District, which includes portions of Newark and Belleville and parts of Hudson and Bergen counties. Sires will face Republican Maria Karczewski, a Bayonne councilwoman, in November. He easily trumped Democratic challenger Michael J. Shurin, 25, of Jersey City, who advocated legalizing marijuana.

Sires, 61, has already served three terms in Congress, representing the 13th Congressional District, which was redistricted. He now will be the Democratic nominee for the 8th District. The former West New York mayor, who was born in Cuba, served 12 years in the state Assembly and was the Assembly speaker for four years.

And in the 7th District, Republican Leonard Lance, the incumbent easily defeated challenger David Larsen. Lance, of Hunterdon County, will face Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, a Democrat, in the fall. The 7th District contains Millburn -- but is heavily made up of sections of Union, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset and parts of Warren counties.

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