A retired U.S. Navy commander called on House candidate Rosemary Becchi to disavow a mailer featuring a burning flag that attacked Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) Friday.
“To use an image of a burning American flag to attack a sitting U.S. Congresswoman and former Lieutenant in the United States Navy is shameful and despicable,” retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. William Squires said. “It is an insult to every single person who has put on the uniform.”
The mailer was sent by the New Jersey Now Action Fund, a super PAC formed to boost Becchi’s bid back when she was still running in the seventh congressional district.
It shows a burning flag used as a fuse in a Molotov cocktail and attacks Sherrill, a first-term moderate, as “another member of the radical ‘squad’” and attempts to link the former Navy helicopter pilot to far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
“Rosemary Becchi must immediately and publicly disavow this hateful mailer,” Squires said. “Ms. Becchi has continuously lied about Congresswoman Sherrill’s record of service to our veterans, but to see this type of campaigning is beneath the dignity of the office she seeks.”
The challenger’s campaign declined to condemn the mailer, choosing instead to launch attacks along the same line.
“Mikie Sherrill refuses to condemn the violence in the streets, but runs to the press to condemn a mailer,” Becchi campaign manager Audrey Lane said. “Mikie Sherrill continues to gaslight issues without addressing the real concerns raised in the flyer. It’s a that fact Mikie Sherrill voted to allow criminals to sue police officers for doing their job.”
The mailer references Sherrill’s vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would remove qualified immunity, which shields police officers from civil suits over violations of constitutional rights.
“She can try and duck from her record all she wants by criticizing a mailer from a third party, but the fact is the people of Congressional District 11 were tricked into voting for a ‘moderate, bipartisan’ candidate — Mikie Sherrill has proven that she is quite the opposite,” Lane said.
In a tweet later in the day, Sherill said Becchi “must publicly denounce this mailer and refuse all support from this organization.”