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February 11, 2022 at 5:00:00 AM

Friday, February 11, 2022

NEWARK, NJ – U.S. Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr., (D-Newark) is announcing his campaign team for the upcoming primary election, an experienced group of political professionals who will help the Congressman spread his message and connect with Democratic voters throughout the 10th District.

“A successful campaign needs strong leadership and I’m proud of the group of professionals we have assembled to bring our message to the people of Essex, Hudson and Union counties,” said Congressman Payne. “Our campaign will ultimately be propelled to victory by grassroots supporters and volunteers from across the district. Together, we will fight to ensure that the communities I serve continue to have a voice in Washington that is willing to stand up for them.”

The campaign’s consulting team includes a strong mix of talent from both New Jersey and Washington DC with a proven track record of helping Democratic campaigns win at all levels. Congressman Payne’s campaign team is led by General Consultant and Chief Strategist Rasheida Smith, who is the owner of Dunton Consulting and one of the state’s leading campaign strategists. Smith is returning to work for Congressman Payne after managing his first election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. She is one of his most trusted political advisors.

Rafi Jafri and Bryn D'Andrea of Jafri Strategies and Jennifer Frost of The Frost Group lead the campaign’s fundraising team. Jafri recently worked for Governor Phil Murphy's re-election campaign, along with D'Andrea. Frost raises for high-profile members of Congress such as Rep. Debbie Washerman Schutlz (FL-23) and New Jersey’s own Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5).

Ron Lester of Lester and Associates is leading the campaign’s polling and research efforts. Lester, a Montclair native, has decades of experience conducting polls for groups such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as well as influential members of the House such as Rep. Sanford Bishop and Rep. Yvette Clark. Lester previously worked for Congressman Donald Payne, Sr.

Andrew Kennedy of Kennedy Communications will be handling print and direct mail. His work has helped elect nearly two dozen Democratic Members of Congress, a Governor and two US Senators – in addition to Members of the State Senate and Assembly across New Jersey.

BattleAxe Digital, a DC-based woman-owned business, is responsible for the campaign’s digital work. BattleAxe is led by Jennifer Holcomb who began her career in New Jersey and is now one of the nation’s top digital operatives.

Phil Swibinski of Vision Media will handle communications and digital content. He has recently worked on the re-election campaigns of Governor Murphy and Mayor Steve Fulop of Jersey City.

Smith is working closely with Campaign Manager Simon Persico, who will handle day-to-day coordination of all aspects of the campaign including messaging, media, voter contact, budget, fundraising, research and more. Smith and Persico will manage the campaign’s staff, consultants, and volunteers and coordinate with other trusted advisors to execute a winning strategy.

About Congressman Payne:

A lifelong Newark resident, Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., is a champion for working families, Democratic values and fighting to provide more opportunities for people in black and brown communities. He’s a devoted husband and father and a former union member with a blue collar background who has an immense respect for the dignity of work and the value of organized labor. A five-term Congressman, he was first elected in 2012 to succeed his late father, the legendary Rep. Donald Payne, Sr., who was the first Black Congressman in state history. Congressman Payne is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials in the powerful House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has jurisdiction over major infrastructure initiatives including the Gateway Project that are critical to New Jersey’s economy. Congressman Payne co-wrote the House version of President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure act and has supported critical progressive legislation like the Build Back Better plan, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Equality Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and much more.

Congressman Payne Announces 2022 Campaign Team

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