The 11th Congressional district of New Jersey is highly competitive this year for the first time in decades.
The incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) who has been in office for more than 20 years is retiring so it’s an open seat. Frelinghuysen comes from a family that has been in politics for more than 100 years so his retirement is a true milestone.
Frelinghuysen has always won by comfortable margins. He stepped down this year in the face of a serious challenge.
That challenge comes from Mikie Sherrill, a former Naval pilot and assistant U.S. attorney. Sherrill has been running a dynamic campaign. She easily cleared the opposition in her primary and has been supported by many establishment figures. She resides with her family in Montclair.
The Democratic Party has put their full support behind her. Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for her in September.
Running to replace Frelinghuysen on the Republican side is Jay Webber. He is currently a member of the New Jersey Assembly where has consistently taken very conservative positions. For example, Webber voted against paid leave for new parents, gay marriage, providing hearing aids to children, and treating opioid addiction.
Furthermore, he is against abortion and regulating firearms. He also believes in repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the expense of 23 million Americans, according to NJ.com which endorsed Sherrill.
For his extreme positions, Webber has received Donald Trump’s full support. For example, he recently hosted a fundraiser for him and has donated funds from his campaign committee.
In addition, Vice President Mike Pence has led rallies in the district in favor of Webber. In turn Webber has publicly declared his support for the controversial tax cuts for the wealthy that were signed into law last year.
This is in stark contrast to Frelinghuysen who was viewed as a moderate and voted against the tax plan in the House.
According to North Jersey.com, which also recently endorsed Sherrill, she is running on a fairly progressive platform, favoring gun regulation, protecting immigrants, access to affordable healthcare, and funding the Gateway project which would create a 3rd tunnel into New York City.
And while polls always needed to be taken with a grain of salt, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gives her an 84.4 percent chance of winning.
However, the district is 87.5 percent white which makes relying on traditional bases in the Democratic Party such as African Americans, among others, impossible. It is also a more affluent district contained within four counties and 54 municipalities.
But Trump only won the district 49 to 48 percent.
The district was redrawn in 2012 which led to it containing more progressive towns on its eastern border than it initially contained. This has been a boon for the Sherill campaign.
In addition, like many other areas, it has seen a surge of activism since the 2016 election with groups forming specifically to challenge Trump. In addition, her status as a veteran has drawn many moderates to her.
Want to participate?
Visit https://mikiesherrill.com/ for Mikie Sherrill
Visit https://www.webberforcongress.com/ for Jay Webber