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Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifts NJ-11 to Safe Democratic

Sherrill’s seat ‘would only be gettable for Republicans in a mega-wave,’ forecaster says

By Joey Fox, September 29 2022 9:29 am

Sabato’s Crystal Ball, one of the country’s most prominent election forecasters, upgraded Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair)’s re-election chances today, shifting her 11th congressional district from Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic.

“We also are pushing a few heavily Democratic seats — the newly-drawn, open NC-14 in the Charlotte area, as well as the seats held by Reps. Jim Costa (D, CA-21) and Mikie Sherrill (D, NJ-11), from Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic,” Crystal Ball editor Kyle Kondik wrote. “These are all roughly Biden +15-20 seats that would only be gettable for Republicans in a mega-wave, which it doesn’t seem like this election will be.”

The change brings the Crystal Ball in line with several other race raters, most prominently the Cook Political Report, which has listed the 11th district as Solid Democratic ever since New Jersey’s new congressional map was approved in December.

Sherrill flipped the Morris County-based 11th district from Republicans in 2018, following the retirement of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding), and she won re-election by a somewhat smaller margin in 2020. But those were under the state’s old district lines; the new 11th district, which stretch further into deep-blue Essex County, would have voted for President Joe Biden by 17 points, a daunting margin for any Republican to overcome.

Adding to Republicans’ woes is the fact that their nominee, Paul DeGroot, has so far been unable to keep pace with Sherrill in advertising and spending. 

DeGroot, whose primary victory over Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen was something of a surprise, had just under $300,000 on-hand in July, most of which came from self-funding – a far cry from Sherrill’s $6.1 million warchest. That disparity has allowed Sherrill to run three TV ads completely unanswered, and no outside groups have stepped in to give DeGroot a hand.

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