Challenger Rosemary Becchi’s attacked Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) for not supporting legislation to enhance medical care of women veterans, but records show that the freshman congresswoman voted for the bill last year.
Now Becchi is admitting that her information was faulty.
“Yesterday my campaign made a research error and we have since deleted the posts,” Becchi told the New Jersey Globe. “We apologize for the error.”
Becchi alleged in a since-removed tweet that Sherill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, hasn’t done enough to help women veterans, pointing to the failure House Democrats to act on the Deborah Sampson Act, which increases access to Veterans Administration medical services for women who served in the military.
But the House passed the measure, 399-11, on November 12, 2019. Sherill voted yes.
“Rosemary Becchi has been a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., for over a decade,” said Elizabeth Davis, Sherrill’s campaign manager. “She knows this is simply not true. Her blatant disregard for the facts demonstrates she doesn’t have the integrity to represent citizens in the 11th district.
Davis noted that Sherrill’s voting record is available online.
“Like all citizens, Ms. Becchi is welcome to visit congress.gov to learn about the legislation that Congresswoman Sherrill has supported, including the more than thirty bills supporting veterans that the Navy veteran has co-sponsored in her first term,” Davis said.
Despite the mistake, Becchi has doubled down on what might be an equally flawed criticism of Sherrill’s record on women veterans.
“While HR 3224 passed in the House, it is still not law and Mikie Sherrill should be shouting from the rooftops to advocate for Veterans,” Becchi said.
The bill is now stuck in the U.S. Senate, where Becchi might have more influence than Sherrill.
Becchi is a former tax counsel to the Senate Finance Committee and a contributor to two Senate Republicans who could help move the legislation forward.
She contributed $1,000 to House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2019, when he attended a fundraiser at the Mendham home of former Gov. Chris Christie. Becchi also donated $500 to Thom Tillis, a North Carolina senator who serves on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Becchi is trying to make veterans services an issue in her bid to unseat Sherrill, a Democrat who flipped a House seat in 2018 after 34 years of Republican control in a district that Donald Trump carried in the last presidential election.
“Throughout my campaign I will continue to work to raise awareness of the real issues facing veterans today,” Becchi said. “I have had the opportunity to talk to frustrated veterans in our community who feel underrepresented and if elected I will continue to work to reduce barriers to healthcare for women veterans.”
Davis encouraged Becchi to peak to McConnell directly to advocate for women veterans.
Democratic strategist Michael Soliman said that Becchi will need to be more careful about using opposition research in the future.
“Facts matter, and candidates have a responsibility to ensure that what they say is accurate and fair,” Soliman said.