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Mikie Sherrill. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Sherrill wins

Webber concedes

By Nikita Biryukov, November 06 2018 9:58 pm

Mikie Sherrill won in the state’s 11th congressional district, flipping a seat that Democrats haven’t held since former Rep. Dean Gallo took office in 1985.

The contest to replace retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who announced he would not run for reelection earlier this year after holding the seat for more than 20 years, ended when Assemblyman Jay Webber conceded at about 9:55 p.m.

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.

Webber received 118,897 votes, about 44% of those cast.

Unlike others in the state’s other races, President Donald Trump was something of a footnote in both candidates’ campaigns, even though Trump and Vice President Mike Pence endorsed and fundraised for Webber.

Polls over preceding months marked Trump as a popular president in the district — a stark contrast to many other areas of New Jersey.

Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor, campaigned as a moderate, focusing on issues like the Gateway Tunnel and the cap on state and local tax deductions passed last year as part of congressional Republicans tax plan.

Webber, one of the Assembly’s most conservative members, also moved to the middle, focusing his campaign on supporting that same tax plan and the rosy state of the economy.

The race was not without its share of mudslinging.

Webber frequently tried to paint Sherrill as a liberal, attacking over comments she made calling House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi one of the most effective speakers in decades and claiming falsely that she wanted to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even airing ads calling the congresswoman-elect “Montclair Mikie” to intimate she was too far left for the 11th.

Sherrill said she would not vote Pelosi into a leadership role before June’s primary elections.

Her own attacks hit Webber on women’s issues, claiming he opposed equal pay and highlighting his pro-life stance. Webber voted against an equal pay bill in the legislature earlier this year and has since said he backs the issue but opposed the bill for technical reasons.

The congresswoman-elect also holds a coveted crown as New Jersey’s best fundraiser. Her campaign managed to raise at least $7.6 million, a figure that even eclipses money raised by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, the state’s previous fundraising champion.

Webber raised a comparatively meager sum — at least $1.4 million raised, though the latter’s figure gets a small boost from big-money donations that went to the Assemblyman’s PAC, the Webber Victory Committee, that allows for larger contributions.

This post was updated with vote totals.

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One thought on “Sherrill wins

  1. Awe shucks. Congratulations Mikie Sherrill. You may be a Pelosi-liberal who never even had her husband’s permission to run for Congress in #NJ11, I may have been our glorious President, Donald J. Trump’s choice, but you proved to be a formidable opponent. You may not have see the last of me.

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