Former Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) has waded into the race for his old 11th district seat, endorsing Republican Rosemary Becchi for the chance to take on his successor, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair).
“Rosemary Becchi is uniquely qualified to represent New Jersey’s 11th district in Congress given her extensive, bi-partisan efforts in advocating for tax relief and fighting to make our state more affordable for families through the non-profit Jersey First,” Frelinghuysen said. “The 11th district seat has traditionally been held by representatives eager to work in a bi-partisan manner to accomplish the best for everyone throughout New Jersey.”
The former 12-term congressman will serve as honorary chairman of Becchi’s campaign.
Frelinghuysen was beginning his first year as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee in 2017 when Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and assistant U.S. Attorney, decided to challenge him for a seat he had held since 1995.
Sherrill’s early fundraising success – and the efforts of a grass roots group, NJ 11th for Change – effectively drove him into an early retirement.
Frelinghuysen said that politics on Capitol Hill have gotten worse since he left.
“Sadly, the partisan divide has only increased in Washington, and the current group of federal representatives in our area have broken their promise not to get mired in the partisan vitriol and impeachment demagoguery that is gridlocking the nation’s capital,” said Frelinghuysen. “It’s time to send someone like Rosemary to Washington, an effective leader with a passion to solve problems, not create new ones.”
The Republican field was largely cleared for Becchi when she switched from her race against Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) to a challenge against Sherrill.
Just one candidate, accountant Robert Crook, is challenging Becchi for the GOP nomination. Crook won less than 1% of the vote as an independent two years ago.
Republicans this week sought to tie Sherrill to allegations of misogyny against the candidate she has endorsed for president, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, and to criticisms of toxic workplace environments on the campaign of New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Phil Murphy.
“Congresswoman Sherrill has had opportunity after opportunity to be a leader in her own Party, but each time she has passed,” said acting Morris County Republican chair Laura Marie Ali. “Whether it has been any of the host of toxic workplace scandals under Phil Murphy or her endorsement of potential misogynist Mike Bloomberg, I think the women of New Jersey know they can’t count on Mikie Sherrill to stand up for them. Good thing voters in NJ-11 have an opportunity to vote her out in November.”