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Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair). Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

Sherrill posts big 2nd quarter numbers, raising $590k

Freshman congresswoman has more than $1.1 million banked for ’20 re-election bid

By David Wildstein, July 15 2019 5:00 am

Freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) began raising huge amounts of money in 2017 and still hasn’t stopped.

Sherrill reported another strong fundraising quarter, raising $590,000 in the second quarter of 2019 as she continues to look like a strong bet for re-election in a district she flipped last year after 34 years of Republican control.

She has more than $1.1 million cash-on-hand after raising $552,722 in her first three months in Congress.

More than 90% of Sherrill’s second quarter contributions have come from small-dollar grassroots donors, according to her campaign.  That percentage matches her first quarter fundraising numbers.

“I’m grateful for the continued support for my work to secure tax relief, improve our transportation infrastructure, and strengthen our healthcare system,” Sherrill said. “I remain inspired by the commitment of North Jersey residents to our vision and a belief in government that works on behalf of all the people.”

Sherrill has raised the most of New Jersey’s four freshman House members since taking office in January, although Reps. Andy Kim (D-Marlton) and Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) have had fundraising hauls that are relatively close to Sherrill. All three have banked more than $1 million.

Another freshman, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Middle), had the biggest fundraising numbers in the second quarter – he brought in more than $638,000 – after the “Comeback Kid” raised just $120,000 during his first three months in Congress.

She raised almost $8.5 million in her bid to flip New Jersey’s 11th district in 2018 and outspent her Republican opponent by an almost 5-1 margin for a seat that Republicans had held since 1984.

It was Sherrill’s early fundraising prowess – she had raised more than $1.2 million by the end of 2017 – that helped frighten twelve-term incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen out of the race.  With a warchest of under $1.2 million, Frelinghuysen announced his retirement weeks after Sherrill announced her own fundraising numbers.

Republicans still have no challenger in the wings to challenge Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and assistant U.S. Attorney.  She won her House race by 46,262 votes, 47%-42%, against Republican assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) in 2018.

The 11th district has 4,057 more Republicans than Democrats and Donald Trump won it by 1% in 2016, but the GOP appears to view Sherrill as less beatable than five other New Jersey House Democrats.

Morris County Sheriff James Gannon has already said he will not run for Congress in 2020.

At a book signing in February, former Gov. Chis Christie touted his wife, Mary Pat, as a potential challenger to Sherrill.  Christie has not mentioned that since.

Newcomer Reinier Prijten had entered the race against Sherrill earlier this year but dropped out in May after a disastrous campaign roll-out.

He acknowledged a few days after entering the race that Prijten has never lived in New Jersey.  A spokesman said that he was living in California and was planning to move to Morristown in May.   Before moving to the West Coast, Prijten had lived in New York City and Westchester, records show.

Prijten faced some criticism for a racially-charged blog post in 2010 that suggested the United States’ Visa Waiver Program made the country vulnerable to terrorism because it could also be used by citizens of some European countries who also hold a passport from a majority-Muslim nation.  The Dutch-born financial services executive also missed voting in five of nine general elections since his naturalization in 2009.

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