Home>Campaigns>At ‘Roevember’ rally, Sherrill once again highlights importance of abortion issue

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, New Jersey Democratic State Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr., and others lead a March to Roevember rally in Montclair on October 8, 2022. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

At ‘Roevember’ rally, Sherrill once again highlights importance of abortion issue

DeGroot campaign attends event, casts candidate as pro-choice Republican

By Joey Fox, October 08 2022 1:58 pm

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), like other New Jersey Democrats running for re-election this November, has cast herself as a strong defender of abortion and a bulwark against the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. To that end, Sherrill spoke today at a “March to ROEvember” in Montclair, saying that it was critical to re-elect Democrats across the nation this November to protect abortion.

“If I am ever, as a woman, going to have freedom in this country, then I need to make sure that we re-implement the protections under Roe across the nation,” Sherrill said to a hundreds-strong crowd. “You can’t be pro-choice if one woman in this nation isn’t protected.”

Sherrill seemed to be referencing her opponent, former Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Paul DeGroot, who has said he agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision but who has also called himself a “pro-choice Republican.” In fact, a delegation from DeGroot’s campaign came to today’s rally, though the candidate himself was unable to attend.

“We’re here to support a woman’s right to choose,” said Lisa LoBiondo, DeGroot’s campaign manager. “The Republican Party is supposed to be the big tent party, and all are welcome. We have pro-life people, we have pro-choice people.”

But Sherrill said she doubted DeGroot’s pro-choice credentials since he’s said the issue should be left up to the states, leaving abortion banned for millions of people.

“Given that my opponent said it was proper to overturn Roe, and given that he thinks it’s ok for a state to fully ban abortion with no exceptions … I don’t think he is pro-choice,” Sherrill said.

Also in attendance at the rally were U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing) and Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark), and an extensive troupe of elected officials and activists.

Sherrill acknowledged that there’s more she and her Democratic colleagues in Congress could do to protect abortion; Democrats currently have a trifecta, but that may disappear soon if the party loses one or both chambers of Congress.

“I think we need to do more,” she said. “And I think we will do more. I don’t think, until we have full protections across this nation, we have done enough.”

The two-term congresswoman has aired two TV ads so far on abortion, including one that says “women will die” if DeGroot’s policies were put into practice. DeGroot, who has comparatively struggled with fundraising, has yet to air ads.

On a press call yesterday, State Republican Chairman Bob Hugin said Sherrill’s persisent focus on abortion is a sign that she’s nervous about her re-election chances.

“Mikie Sherrill should be scared,” Hugin said. “And the fact that she is attacking Paul DeGroot is encouraging. Her numbers are scary.”

Sherrill is generally regarded as a significant favorite against DeGroot, a first-time candidate who won the Republican primary in an upset. Though the current lines of the 11th district are highly competitive, the new map that will go into effect for this election makes the district significantly more Democratic.

But regardless of Sherrill’s chances, speakers at today’s Roevember rally were unanimous in urging residents of the 11th district and of New Jersey to come out in November and vote.

“This [election] is life or death for democracy,” Watson Coleman. “We need to show up and we need to show up in a very big way.”

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