By Marion Filler
“This will be an extremely tough fight for us. Make no mistake, we need to be tough, we need to be focused, we need to be committed, and I know we can do it,” said the former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor.
In a contest already getting national attention, Sherrill will try to flip the 11th District seat held for 22 years by Republican Rodney Frelinguysen. The Congressman, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, is retiring.
Video: Mikie Sherrill in Morristown, Primary Day 2018
Sherrill got about 77 percent of the primary vote, easily defeating challengers Tamara Harris, Morristown resident Mitchell Cobert, Mark Washburne and Alison Heslin.
Webber, a conservative state Asemblyman from Morris Plains, got about 40 percent of the Republican vote, beating Peter DeNeufville by about 9 points. Antony Ghee, Patrick Allocco and Martin Hewitt rounded out the field.
Voters should have no trouble differentiating the candidates’ positions.
A supporter of President Trump, Webber earned his conservative bona fides by opposing the Paris Climate Accord, voting against limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, opposing Medicaid coverage for family planning, and voting no to equal pay and employment discrimination bills.
“We know our quality of life is at stake in the 11th Congressional District,” Sherrill told the crowd at the Ridgefield Regency, where music blared and noise mounted before she and her husband and four children were introduced.
“Under the current leadership in Congress our families and our communities have faced rising healthcare premiums, a tax increase that singles out New Jersey’s middle-class families in particular, and unmet infrastructure needs that threaten our region’s economic future,” said the Montclair resident.
“We must send new leadership to Congress in order to find common sense solutions that put our kids and our future first.”
Sherrill’s parents and siblings were there, and so were state Democratic Chairman John Curry, New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and Essex County Executive Leroy Jones.
Curry hailed Sherrill’s victory as the “first step towards changing not only New Jersey, but this country.”
From Sherrill’s kitchen table in May 2017, her campaign has grown exponentially. She has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and garnered endorsements by the New York Times, Joe Biden, Emily’s List, Chatham Moms for Change, and others. Democratic chairpersons from Morris, Essex, Sussex and Passaic counties also back her.
Her early start allowed time to develop a grassroots network, which helped raise about 20 percent of the $1.2 million she amassed in 2017. Sherrill’s staff estimates she will need to raise $6- or $7 million more to compete effectively this fall.
“I am so proud to say that we are ready to flip this seat and turn this District Blue,” Sherrill said.