By Marion Filler
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill has campaigned this month with Gaby Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly for gun law reforms, and collected an endorsement from former Vice President Joe Biden at a rally at Montclair University.
And she came to Morristown this week at the invitation of a two more heavy hitters, Kim and Finn Wentworth.
Sherrill, a Democrat running against Republican state Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26th Dist.) in the 11th Congressional District, was introduced at a packed reception in the offices of Normandy Real Estate Partners, the real estate investment company founded by Finn Wentworth in 2002.
When the businessman withdrew his support from Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) last year, it signaled that the 22-year Capitol Hill veteran was in for the first serious election challenge of his career.
Months later, Frelinghuysen, scion of a New Jersey political dynasty, announced plans to retire at the end of this term.
“Mikie Sherrrill represents a moderate voice that represents why I joined the Republican party 41 years ago. We were socially aware and engaged and we were fiscally conservative. Socially the party has seemingly drifted to an extreme that I’m not comfortable with, particularly regarding affordable health care,” said Finn Wentworth, whose philanthropic endeavors include chairing the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center.
A GOP repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act would deluge the hospital’s emergency room with an extra 30,000 patients a year — people who would lose insurance coverage and have no other option for treatment, he said.
“It would be a disaster financially for the hospital and for the community. I believe that Mikie will protect those 30,000 people.”
A member of the NJBiz Hall of Fame, Finn Wentworth was state delegate for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in 2016.
He now considers himself a political Independent.
“I’ve lived in Morris County my entire life. I have nine brothers and sisters and 48 nephews and nieces, and when I think about the importance of quality of life in Morris County, I think about issues that are being ignored and damaged today,” he said.
On gun laws, he favors Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor from Montclair, over the conservative stance of Webber, an attorney from Morris Plains.
“We have enough guns in New Jersey. We have the most populated state in the United States. We don’t need any more guns. I don’t know a police officer who would say that conceal-and-carry is a good idea,” Wentworth said.
“I believe that Mikie Sherrill will protect our community and she will collaborate with others to put together a better and stronger District 11 going forward.”
Sherrill has challenged Webber to three debates before the mid-term election in November, and is awaiting a response.
“It’s really important for people to hear from their candidates to understand the issues,” Sherrill said.
“I have been working for over a year now to be transparent and accessible, and I want to be an accessible candidate, so we put together a pretty rigorous debate schedule throughout the district in three different locations and said to Jay, ‘Please join us!'”
The proposed debates are Oct. 9 at the Ogdensburg Historical Society, Oct. 10 broadcast on NJTV, and Oct. 11 at the League of Women Voters in Wayne. Times will be announced upon confirmation by both candidates.