Congresswoman-elect Mikie Sherrill told the New Jersey Globe she didn’t really expect to win her race by 12 points.
“The enthusiasm on the ground was good. I have to say, the momentum seemed good,” Sherrill said. “I felt pretty confident going into today, but of course, as we know, polls across the country have been all over the map, and it’s always kind of hard to know how these things are going to turn out until they do.”
Sherrill secured 152,178 votes, roughly 56% of those cast. She won three of the four counties in the district, including a 1,656-vote win in Passaic County. She won Essex by 20,411 and Morris County by 22,480. Sussex County was the only one she lost, and even there she overperformed, losing by only 1,266 votes.
Assemblyman Jay Webber, who conceded the race at about 9:55 p.m. Tuesday, received 118,897 votes, about 44% of those cast.
Despite those totals and the energy around her now-concluded campaign, Sherrill got some last-minute jitters.
“A couple days before the election, I started listing in my mind all the things that could derail the campaign because I felt like we’d put it on a really great path, but there were just so many external factors, and I started thinking what if this, what if this, what if this?” Sherrill said.
Sherrill said a friend of hers, former Marine pilot Amy McGrath, who ran an unsuccessful bid to unseat Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr this year, told her put her worries away and “’just stay on your glide path and land this plane.’”
Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor, never flew planes.
“I’m a helicopter pilot, so I don’t need a glide path, so I told people throughout the district I was going to come in hot and set it right down on Tuesday and land the helicopter,” she said.
Turns out she did just that, figuratively.
It might be a while before she gets to literally fly again.
“I haven’t been flying because I have four kids,” Sherrill said. “I don’t think Congress is going to open up my schedule for a lot of flight time.”