Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., who revealed last month that he is being treated for colon cancer, returned to Newark on Friday after his health has taken a turn toward the worst, a spokeswoman said.
The Newark Star-Ledger website quoted Payne's son, Newark City Council President Donald Payne Jr., as saying the 77-year-old congressman was being flown home on a medical transport plane.
Friends of Payne on the Hill have been told to go visit with him as his condition seems to deteriorate, according to multiple sources.
"We're still optimistic, but I mean you know it is what it is. It's cancer," Payne told the newspaper.
Amirah Salaam, a spokeswoman for Payne, said the congressman “was flown from D.C. to New Jersey” on Friday.
Salaam offered no other update on the congressman’s condition.
Rep. Payne's Newark district is heavily Democratic, and the party could expect to retain the seat in November. The congressman was potentially facing a primary challenge from a younger candidate, Newark City Councilor Ron Rice. The primary is in June.
Payne's district probably would have been represented by an African-American sooner had it not been held for decades by the late Rep. Peter Rodino, Jr., D-N.J. who presided over the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate., an historical legacy that left the Garden State without an African-American Congressman long after it would have been expected to have one.
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