Former U.S. Senate staffer Rosemary Becchi has formally announced that she will challenge freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) for New Jersey’s 11th district congressional seat.
Becchi’s announcement comes two days after she told party leaders that she was prepared to end her campaign against Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the 7th district if party support was there for her to run against Sherrill.
Republicans appear to have cleared the field for Becchi to become the GOP candidate. Former Kinnelon councilman Larry Casha agreed to drop out of the race this morning.
“Mikie Sherrill has failed our families by standing with Nancy Pelosi’s partisan impeachment effort instead of fixing the problems that have made New Jersey simply unaffordable for average families, seniors and our young people — the future of our economy,” Becchi said.
Becchi accused Sherill of breaking “her promise to the people of New Jersey to be a moderate voice for them, and instead has voted with Nancy Pelosi 98% of the time, including votes to weaken our immigration laws and against our military and veterans.”
Becchi’s hometown, Millburn, is in the 7th, but she lives just two miles outside the 11th district.
Carpetbagging won’t be an issue for Becchi, since Sherrill lives outside her own district in the part of Montclair represented by Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark).
Becchi entered the race against Malinowski last July. Kean, the son of former Gov. Tom Kean and a legislator since 2001, entered the race in April and had raised about $1 million as of his last report.
Before going to work for the U.S. Senate, the 53-year-old Becchi was a staff attorney in the office of the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service. She later worked for a top accounting firm, for Citigroup and Fidelity Investments, and has been a partner at two major law firms. She now works for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a Washington, D.C law and lobbying firm.
Becchi is the founder of Jersey First, a grassroots economic advocacy group.
Sherrill raised almost $8.5 million in her bid to flip New Jersey’s 11th district in 2018 and outspent her Republican opponent by an almost 5-1 margin for a seat that Republicans had held since 1984.
It was Sherrill’s early fundraising prowess – she had raised more than $1.2 million by the end of 2017 – that helped frighten twelve-term incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen out of the race. With a warchest of under $1.2 million, Frelinghuysen announced his retirement weeks after Sherrill announced her own fundraising numbers.
She won her House race by 46,262 votes, 57%-42%, against Republican assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) in 2018.
The 11th district has 1,500 more Republicans than Democrats and Donald Trump won it by 1% in 2016 — down from 24,176 when the district was drawn after the 2010 census.