Morris County Sherriff James Gannon says he will not challenge freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) next year, removing one of the most formidable potential challengers from the 2020 campaign.
“I’m honored that people are speaking about it, but I am only interested in being Morris County Sheriff,” the hugely popular Gannon told the New Jersey Globe. “I am not interested in Congress.”
Gannon is seeking re-election to a second term this year.
He says being sheriff allows him the opportunity to do many good things on behalf of his constituents and is happy to stay exactly where he is.
Many Republicans had viewed Gannon as the strongest possible challenger to Sherrill, who flipped the 11th district House seat last year after 34 years of Republican control.
Sherrill carried Morris County by 16,837 votes – a 55%-44% margin – over Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains). The twelve-term incumbent, Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding), was not seeking re-election.
Overall, Sherrill defeated Webber by 47,362 votes (57%-42%).
Gannon was elected sheriff in 2016 by a landslide 63%-37% in 2016, defeating Democrat Mark Dombrowski by 55,688 votes in Morris County.
Republicans still don’t have a candidate against Sherrill, who started running against Frelinghuysen in early 2017 and raised nearly $8.5 million as a first time candidate.
Last month, former Gov. Chris Christie floated a trial balloon for his wife, Mary Pat, to challenge Sherrill. Republicans in the 11th say they don’t believe she is interested in running.