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Rice Concedes Congressional Election

West Ward councilman vows take back Democratic party

Ronald C. Rice has conceded the race for New Jersey's 10th Congressional District to Donald Payne Jr., who earned the Democratic nomination Tuesday with a landslide victory.

Speaking from his afterparty on Orange Street in Newark, Rice said he called Payne to congratulate him on his win, which he clinched with 32,582 (59 percent) of total votes, according to unofficial results. Rice finished second with 10,707 (19 percent) of votes. Four other candidates, including state Sen. Nia Gill, who trailed with 9,313 (17 percent) votes, also vied for the nomination in November's general election.

"I'm asking everyone in the district to get behind him (Payne)," said Rice, adding that although he did not initially support Payne in his bid for Newark city council president, a position he currently holds, in 2010, "it is important to keep this seat Democratic."

Speaking to a room of family members, campaign staff and supporters including father and state Sen. Ronald L. Rice, Newark Councilwoman Mildred C. Crump and Essex County Freeholder Rufus Johnson, Rice vowed to challenge the Democratic bastion in Essex County and the politicians who he called "too cozy" with Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

"We've got to start challenging this governor and this Democratic party in this county," said Rice. "That fight continues on as we go forward."

John Arnold, a retired captain of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office who lost his bid for Essex County sheriff to incumbent Armando Fontoura, echoed Rice's sentiments Tuesday night.

"We just have to start a revolution, Ron, to make sure we get the right people in place," said Arnold.

Rice was the first candidate following the death of Rep. Donald M. Payne, who earlier that month.

Rice will retain his post as councilman of Newark's West Ward, a position he's held since 2006 after running on Mayor Cory Booker's slate.

"I'm not here to concede a race, I'm here to continue igniting a fire that I hope will continue to spread throughout Newark and throughout the 10th congressional district," said Rice. "We've got work to do folks."

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