House candidate Mikie Sherrill on Thursday called attacks leveled by Assemblyman Jay Webber’s campaign over her praise of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a handful of other issues a distraction.
Sherrill, who last week told a group of retirees in Pompton Plains that she thought Pelosi was one of the most effective Speakers of the House in decades, has said she would not vote the longtime party leader into a House leadership role should she win retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s seat in November.
“I think she’s been very effective. I just think we need new leadership in Washington,” Sherrill said. “You can’t keep doing the same thing and hoping for different results, so I really do think that we have got to break the partisan gridlock in Washington. And I think to do that, we are going to need to bring in new leadership, and I don’t think you can say ‘I think we need new leadership except for the very top.’”
Sherrill was unsure if she would like to see Pelosi in a different leadership role, such as whip, saying only that she hoped Pelosi would be helpful to whomever assumes leadership of House Democrats following the year’s elections.
The Webber campaign, seizing on her remarks to the retirees claimed earlier this week that Sherrill would support a carbon copy of the current Democratic House leader.
“If she believes Pelosi is the ‘most effective Speaker of the House that we have seen in decades,’ we know she is simply going to vote for Pelosi 2.0, whatever her or his name is,” Webber campaign spokeswoman Ronica Cleary said. “This country has moved past the days of Nancy Pelosi rushing through disastrous, far-left legislation. A Speaker by another name with the same Pelosi policies will do nothing to make New Jersey more affordable, or America stronger or more prosperous.”
Candidates for Democratic House leadership have yet to announce themselves, though all but one of the state’s Democratic House challengers have said they would not vote Pelosi into a leadership role.
But, to Sherrill, the attacks invoking Pelosi are a distraction from others facing the district.
Sherrill said Webber attacks falsely claiming she supports Medicare for All and cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security are similar attempts at deflecting from issues she believes are important to the 11th district’s voters, like the repeal of the tax plan Republicans passed late last year.
“I have been very clear on my position on Speaker Pelosi. I don’t think people in the district are as worried about that as about this idea that we need new leaders,” Sherrill said. “We can’t keep having these partisan ideologues – which I think is the type of politician that Assemblyman Webber represents – if we want to move forward in new ways and get good bipartisan legislation passed and move the country forward.”