ROSELAND – Congressional candidate Mikie Sherrill is taking sides in the Roseland Democratic war: she’s backing Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo’s Line A slate of county committee candidates against one supported by former Gov. Richard Codey.
At a campaign event at Johnston’s Steak House in Roseland, Sherrill said that she supported the Line A county committee candidates put up by DiVincenzo and Roseland Democratic Chairman Julius Coltre.
The endorsement is a blow to Codey, a legislator since 1973 who’s fielding candidates to challenge DiVincenzo’s hold over the town of close to 6,000. Codey was among the first Democrats in the state to endorse Sherrill for the 11th district house seat.
Now Sherrill has endorsed John McGovern for county committee against Codey’s son, Kevin, in Roseland’s 1st district.
Codey declined to comment on Sherrill’s endorsement tonight, referring to his previous statements on the race.
The feud for the county committee seats is a relatively low-stakes one over a prize with relatively little worth. But, there’s no love lost between Codey and DiVincenzo, two Democrats who famously loathe one another. Codey and DiVincenzo both live in Roseland (pop. 5,819).
To take control of the twelve-member Democratic county committee, seven of Codey’s nine candidates will need to win, while only three of the DiVincenzo’s candidates would need to win to allow Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones to cast a tie-breaking vote in their favor.
Sherrill is the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination to compete for retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s congressional seat. She was met with a crowd that matched her own enthusiasm on Tuesday, with many area Democrats forced to stand in a spacious room made cramped by the number of attendees present.
“I have been so incredibly impressed with Roseland and the turnout we have here and the hard work here,” Sherrill said. “I am so, not just impressed, but relieved because this is where we win back the seat.”
Roseland is exactly the kind of town Sherrill needs to swing to flip a House seat the Republicans have held since 1984. Frelinghuysen won 64% there in 2016, while Donald Trump took 52% in the same election. Last year, when Democratic picked up a council seat, Codey carried Roseland with 61%, but Democrat Phil Murphy polled 48 votes behind GOP Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.