This article is reposted from MyVeronaNJ.com, with permission.
President Donald Trump on Thursday endorsed state Assemblyman Jay Webber in the race to succeed Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen in the 11th Congressional District, which includes Greater Morristown.
“He is outstanding in every way. Strong on Borders, loves our Military and our Vets. Big Crime fighter. Jay has my Full and Total Endorsement!” the President tweeted.
Webber responded on his Twitter feed: “Thank you Mr. President! I look forward to working with you to make the people in #NJ11 and across America even more prosperous and free!”
In August, he used the murder of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts by an undocumented farm worker to call for an end to sanctuary cities and open borders. (Tibbetts’ father wrote in the Des Moines Register to object to the politicization of her death saying, “Don’t distort her death to advance racist views.”)
More recently, however, Webber has backed off on capping the federal deduction for state and local taxes and he recently released an ad featuring his father stressing his support for Medicare, even though Republican leader Paul Ryan has pledged to cut it as a way of reducing federal entitlement programs.
It is not clear what lift, if any, the endorsement will provide to Webber, who is locked in a very closed race with Mikie Sherrill. Trump won the once heavily Republican 11th congressional district by only one percentage point in 2016, and Webber’s Twitter critics were quick to point out that, unlike Webber, Sherrill is both a veteran and a former federal prosecutor.
Webber and Sherrill have been invited to three debates next month, although Webber has agreed to only one of the three so far, a televised event by NJTV on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
The other two debates, which Sherrill has agreed to, are Oct. 9 at the Ogdensburg Historical Society Candidate Night, and Oct. 11 at the League of Women Voters’ Wayne Televised Candidate Debate.
Sherrill and Webber both are scheduled to appear before the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, although on separate days. Morris County towns make up the bulk of the 11th congressional district, which Verona was gerrymandered into in 2012.
Vice President Mike Pence has stumped for Webber in Morris County, and former Vice President Joe Biden appeared at Sherrill’s official campaign kickoff in her hometown of Montclair this month.