Morris County Sheriff James Gannon is still not running for Congress next year, even though Republican leaders continue to tout him as a challenger to freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in New Jersey’s 11th district.
Gannon told the New Jersey Globe that he has no interest in the U.S. House of Representatives. That’s exactly what he said when asked about running for Congress nine months ago.
“I’m very proud to be Morris County Sheriff. I’ve got a lot done. There is a lot more to do,” Gannon said. “I’m going to stay where I am.”
He was re-elected last week to a second term with 59% of the vote.
Republican have to candidate to challenge Sherrill, who flipped the 11th district in 2018 after 34 years with a GOP congressman.
Reinier Prijten announced his candidacy in April, but folded his campaign a month later after a difficult launch. He lived in New York and Los Angeles and was planning to move to Morristown after starting his congressional bid.
He also faced criticism for a racially-charged blog post in 2010 that suggested the United States’ Visa Waiver Program made the country vulnerable to terrorism because it could also be used by citizens of some European countries who also hold a passport from a majority-Muslim nation.
Only Patrick Allocco, a former aide to Gov. Thomas Kean who sought the Republican nomination last year, is considering a challenge to Sherrill.
The Globe has learned that businessman Peter DeNeufville, a self-funder who finished second in the 2018 Republican congressional primary, has no plans to run again next year.
Republicans are running out of time if they want to remain competitive against Sherrill.
Sherrill raised $1,230,669 by the end of 2017, accumulating a warchest that helped frighten House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding), a twelve-term incumbent, out of the race.
The 11th still has 2,145 more Republicans that Democrats.