Sherrill gets Morristown boost from Emily’s List, raps Webber and Trump for ‘divisive’ politics

Emily Cain of EMILY'S List, left, and Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Emily Cain of EMILY'S List, left, and Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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By Marion Filler and Kevin Coughlin

Democratic Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill got a plug from the head of Emily’s List on Friday in Morristown, where she rapped the “divisive” politics of GOP opponent Jay Webber and President Trump and said they should have spoken out more forcefully against this week’s pipe bomb attacks against Trump critics.

Sherrill and Emily Cain, executive director of Emily’s List addressed about 200 Sherrill supporters at a rally in the posh Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen.

Mikie Sherrill addresses campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mikie Sherrill addresses campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown with women running for local offices, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Speaking with reporters afterward, Sherrill was asked about a Trump fundraiser for Webber and other Republican candidates in Washington on Thursday.

“I was just concerned that President Trump has started to use very divisive language about the press with respect to the pipe bombs that are being sent. I think it would have been opportunity to unite the country around this really horrible behavior and provide real leadership,” said Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy veteran who lives in Montclair.

“We see Assemblyman Webber mimicking some of that by not coming out strongly in opposition to this and running a very divisive campaign. I was sorry to see that,” the candidate said.

Assemblyman Jay Webber, a Harvard-educated lawyer, is running for Congress in District 11. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Assemblyman Jay Webber, a Harvard-educated lawyer, is running for Congress in District 11. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Webber, an attorney and state Assemblyman from Morris Plains, shot back with a statement:

“Mikie Sherrill’s politicization of this very serious crime is the exact type of divisive politics she pretends to oppose. Coming in the same week my family was threatened, and a week after Sherrill’s allies promised to ‘take me down,’ Sherrill’s comments are hypocritical, wildly irresponsible,  and beneath the office she seeks,” Webber said.

Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Hover / click over image for captions:

Emily Cain of EMILY'S List, left, and Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY'S List, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Supporters at Mikie Sherrill campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill, center, and Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY'S List, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mikie Sherrill addresses campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mikie Sherrill addresses campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill, left, and EMILY's List Executive Director Emily Cain, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow, with Jockey Hollow owner Chris Cannon, in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill, left, chats with supporters at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill, center, with Morris County candidates and EMILY's List Executive Director Emily Cain, right, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Mikie Sherrill addresses campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill, center, with Morris County candidates and EMILY's List Executive Director Emily Cain, right, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill, center, and Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY'S List, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Earlier in the week, Webber announced that he received an anonymous letter threatening his seven children. He used the incident to solicit support from donors.

Friday’s war of words came on a day when federal authorities announced the arrest of a Florida man in connection with suspected explosives packages sent to public figures this week.

Liberal philanthropist George Soros, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and actor Robert De Niro were among those targeted, according to news accounts.

Supporters at Mikie Sherrill campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Supporters at Mikie Sherrill campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Sherrill and Webber are competing for the 11th District seat held by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican from Harding who is retiring after 12 terms. Morris County is the heart of the district, which includes portions of Essex, Sussex and Passaic counties.

Although Sherrill has a huge fundraising advantage over Webber, the district tilts slightly Republican and a recent Monmouth University poll only gave Sherrill a four-point edge — within the survey’s margin of error.

Republicans have redoubled their efforts over the last few days. In addition to his fundraiser, Trump tweeted support for Webber for the second time in the campaign. His senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, spoke at a Webber fundraiser in Wayne. Vice President Mike Pence has made two appearances for the conservative state legislator.

Biden came to New Jersey last month to stump for Sherrill, a mother of four who flew helicopters in the Navy.

Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY'S List, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY’S List, at campaign rally at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, Oct. 26, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“This is not a moment. This is a sea change and it’s happening right here is Morris County,” Cain told Sherrill supporters on Friday.

Emily’s List was established in 1985 to promote the election of pro-choice, Democratic women.  “We start them off with their campaigns, we help them understand what they are getting into, we hope to get them off the ground and get taken seriously by people in their districts, by Washington D.C., and all across the country,” Cain said.

When 1,920 women reached out to Emily’s List in 2016, “we thought, wow, that’s really good.” Since Trump’s election, she said, more the 42,000 women have come forward wanting to run for office.

When Sherrill was mulling her congressional bid, she said, Republican friends from the military suggested she start at Emily’s List.  “One of them said she was sorry her party didn’t have such an organization on their side,” the candidate said.

The January 2018 Women’s March in Morristown convinced her she made the right decision to enter the race.

The Morristown Green, 2018 Women's March on NJ. Photo by Katharine Boyle
The Morristown Green, 2018 Women’s March on NJ. Photo by Katharine Boyle

“When I saw all those women marching, there was no doubt about it. This was ground zero and that’s no surprise because Morris County was the heart of the American Revolution – even though my friends in Boston might disagree,” Sherrill said.

Meghan Lynch, head of the state Democratic Women’s Caucus, told the audience “we are in the fight of our lives for the soul of this country,” and urged everyone to vote. “The old adage, ‘the decisions are made by the people who show up’ couldn’t be more true than at this moment.”

Sherrill emphasized quality healthcare for all, constructing the Gateway Tunnel, common sense gun laws, curbing taxes to stem an exodus of residents between the ages of 18 and 25, and protecting the environment. “It’s a today problem, not a tomorrow problem,” she said. 

Neither she nor Cain mentioned President Trump in their public remarks, before a mostly female crowd that was asked to donate between $250 and $2,700 for the breakfast reception.

“This election is not about Donald Trump,” Cain said afterward. “This election is about the direction of our country, and the kind of leaders we need in Congress, so Congress can actually get things done that help people… Donald Trump keeps himself in the press plenty. There’s no reason for us to keep talking about him.”

With 11 days until the Nov. 6 election, Sherrill said she was focusing on her core issues–not Donald Trump or the struggles of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, whose race against wealthy Republican Bob Hugin has been rated a “tossup” by the Cook Political Report.

“What I’ve been working on is uniting everyone here” in the district, Sherrill said.

The rally also promoted other Democratic women competing for offices across the district.

They included Morristown First Lady Mary Dougherty and Rupande Mehta of Denville, running for Morris Freeholder seats; county Clerk candidate Shahla Gagliardi; Tina Genest for Morris Plains Council; Rhonda Allen for Harding Township Committee; Kate Barry for Harding Township Committee; and Nancy du Tertre Lester for Mountain Lakes Borough Council.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. None of Webber’s positions are good for me. Its time to stop using party affiliation to avoid taking a stand on the issues that will impact us the most.. Sherrill is civil, smart and has proven her dedication to our country and our safety.

  2. A year ago Louise Johnson told us:
    “I don’t want you to be sidetracked by national political issues or emotions…..If you think life is good here, don’t mess it up.”

    It looks like she hasn’t changed her views on whether residents should be civically involved. Citizens should be interested in “taking sides.” Open government with an informed citizenry is the way democracy flourishes.

    We need to take sides in the Morris County Freeholder Board and Morris Township Committee elections. Both bodies need “open government.” We need to put a check on back room deals.

    We need to take sides against a president who seeks not to soothe a troubled populace but to exploit its anxiety with lies and a campaign of fear.

    We need to take sides against the current Republican-controlled Congress that has demonstrated an unwillingness be a check on this president. It is not immigrants we should fear. In these midterms we need to vote for people who will be a restraint on cruel tax, health care, and environmental policies based on lies.

    So Louise, I will continue to take sides and encourage others to do so; it has nothing to do with hate; it’s called voting.

    Vote on Tuesday, November 6th.
    VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS!

  3. Fingers crossed that she packs up her rental house in Morris County and moves back to her mansion in Montclair next week.

  4. Rosary- I am not interested in taking sides here, but can you not see that people like you are what’s keeping the hate-pot on high boil? Live up to your name, Rosary, and use your energy to sow the seeds of understanding among neighbors.

  5. Sherrill is a nice lady. She is, however, on the wrong side of the political divide. Vote for Webber. He will work for what is best for you, Morris County, New Jersey and the country.

  6. “This election should be a referendum on ‘Trump enablers.’ If you don’t speak out about the climate of hate, if you don’t explain that words have consequences—you gotta go, whether you’re running for governor or dog catcher.” — add to that those running in Morris County for Congress, town committee, freeholder, or county clerk.

    Trump’s power depends on keeping us divided. He legitimizes group hatred, and the failure of Republican leaders to denounce a president who is devoting himself to ripping us apart means they are not fit for public office. This must be changed from the bottom up.

    VOTE BLUE!
    VOTE DEMOCRAT!

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