Morris County Surrogate Heather Darling is considering a run for Congress against Rep. Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey’s 11th district.
“We’re at war for our nation right now,” said Darling. “When someone calls me and asks me to fight for our country, it’s hard for me not to think about it.”
The field of GOP candidates appears to be growing. Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) is mulling a challenge to Sherrill, and seven other GOP challengers are already in the race to take on the two-term incumbent in President Joe Biden’s mid-term election.
If Darling runs, she’ll need to resign her post as surrogate since she can’t seek another public office from her Surrogate Court judgeship.
Darling told the New Jersey Globe that if she decides to move forward, and if the Morris County Republican organization awards her the organization line, then she would resign her current post.
That would create a special primary and general election for surrogate this year.
In 1996, Steve Rothman resigned as Bergen County Surrogate to seek an open seat in the U.S House of Representatives. He left his county post in January, a little more than four months before the primary election.
Two Superior Court judges remained on the bench right up until they had secured some party support to seek the Democratic nomination for governor: Richard J. Hughes in 1961 and Brendan Byrne in 1973.
Darling declined to say who asked her to run, but said she is thinking about it.
“It’s about someone who can win this seat back and go down to Washington and fight,” said Darling, who voiced concerns about Sherrill’s support of Biden. “She supports the policies of the very administration that is causing our problems. What is my congresswoman doing about inflation? Nothing.”
The contest to pick an opponent for Sherrill has not yet settled out.
Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen, former Kinnelon Council President Larry Casha, former assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Paul DeGroot, former Ridgefield Park councilman Robert Kovic, attorney Larry Friscia, Iraq War U.S. Army veteran Toby Anderson, and screenwriter Hillery Brotschol are already in the race for the GOP nomination.
Darling has won two countywide races, both as the underdog candidate.
In 2017, she won the GOP primary for Morris County freeholder by 305 votes against the front runner, former freeholder David Scapicchio, 32%-31% in a four candidate race. Harding Mayor Nicolas Platt finished fourth with 28%, and Mike Crispi, who is now running in the 4th district, won 8%.
Two years later, Darling won a stunning 568-vote win in the Republican primary for surrogate against 12-term Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris Township), 41%-38%, in a three-candidate race.