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State Sen. Joe Pennacchio. (Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe).

Pennacchio keeps door open just a tiny bit for race against Sherrill

Republicans struggling to find opponent against freshman congresswoman

By David Wildstein, August 06 2019 6:33 pm

State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) is unlikely to challenge Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in 2020, but the longtime GOP legislator refused to specifically rule out a run for Congress.

“You never know,” Pennacchio told the New Jersey Globe, noting that he is not currently pursuing the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 11th district.

Pennacchio mulled running for the seat in 2018 following the surprise retirement of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding), but decided against a House bid.

Republicans have so far been unable to come up with a candidate to challenge Sherrill in a district they held for 34 years.  Sherrill flipped the seat in 2018, winning by 47,362 votes in Donald Trump’s mid-term election.

Sherill had launched her campaign to unseat Frelinghuysen in March 2017, and by the end of the year had raised $1,230,669.

Morris County Sheriff James Gannon said in February that he wasn’t interested in running for Congress, and his allies insist he won’t change his mind after the November general election.

Reinier Prijetn had announced his candidacy for Sherrill’s seat and was even planning to move from Los Angeles to Morristown to make the race, but after a horrendous roll out he quickly dropped out.

Earlier this year, former Gov. Chris Christie launched a trial balloon on behalf of his wife, but there is no evidence that Mary Pat Christie was ever considering a congressional run.

There is some speculation that former Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers will run in 2020.  Some Republican leaders, including Christie and Republican National Committeeman Bill Palatucci, had encouraged her to run last year following Frelinghuysen’s retirement announcement.

Myers, who joined the Trump administration in early 2018 as the Regional Advocate for the Small Business Administration, went as far as meeting with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but did not enter the race.  She did not seek re-election to the freeholder board in 2018.

Myers suggested to the Globe late Tuesday that she was not planning to run.

“I didn’t respond immediately because I was busy helping the Trump Administration and NJ small businesses,” Myers said.  “If I were to ever decide to jump in the pool, you will be the first journalist to know.”

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3 thoughts on “Pennacchio keeps door open just a tiny bit for race against Sherrill

  1. Pennacchio would get crushed in a primary. Sold out taxpayers when he voted for bloated Murphy budget

  2. If Christine Myers runs in 2020, she’ll get the same amount of help that she herself gave fellow Republicans in 2018 — nothing.

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