Rep. Mikie Sherrill, the former prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot elected as a centrist Democrat in 2018, faces a challenge this year from Republican Rosemary Becchi, an extremist who wants to tear up gun safety laws, ban abortion, and kill Obamacare.
If you want practical solutions to our problems, from health care to the virus, vote for Sherrill. She’s winning support even from local Republicans, who see how hard she works for the 11th district.
If you want to hear more screaming about socialism and scare-mongering about imagined anarchy on the streets of New York City, then Becchi is just right for you. She lacks experience in elective office, and reflexively embraces the talking points of Fox News and the Trump White House.
Take guns. Becchi gets an A from the National Rifle Association, mostly on the strength of her answers to a questionnaire from the gun lobby. She offered no objection to the menu of insanely dangerous positions of the NRA, from being against magazine capacity limits and taking guns away from suspects on the terror watch list, to opposing funding for so much as studying gun violence. That’s what gets us headlines like, “Man is arrested outside a New Jersey elementary school with a gun and 130 rounds of ammo.”
Our choice is Sherrill, a thousand times over. It’s about the easiest decision of the year.
Becchi is smart, with a background as a tax lawyer and lobbyist for big corporations like Exxon Mobil. But she’s running a craven race, with her pandering to the gun lobby and vow to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which would kick millions off their health care in the middle of a pandemic – including those with pre-existing conditions.
The only explanation is that she is genuinely an ultra-right-winger. She shows the same instincts on the virus, chatting with no mask at Trump rallies and indoor events when many people aren’t seeing their own grandkids.
And in an attempt to distract, she is running a fraudulent campaign. One of her authorized mailers borrowed a photo of a burning car from the California desert in 2015, to use as evidence that Sherrill would bring “the chaos in New York City” to “our New Jersey neighborhoods.”
It seems unlikely to terrify the thousands of suburbanites who commute regularly to Manhattan.
Casting “Mikie” as AOC doesn’t work, either. Sherrill is a former prosecutor, endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police. Her “squad” in Congress is a bunch of former military vets and intelligence agents who talk regularly and work together across party lines.
As you can imagine, being called a flag-burner – as suggested by a SuperPAC mailer that Becchi won’t disavow – is a particularly low blow for this Navy veteran.
Becchi’s claim that Democrats would allow a criminal to sue a cop just for “doing his job” is also false. Democrats want to limit what’s known as “qualified immunity” and that is no threat to good cops. It would affect only the bad apples, and only when they are caught in significant wrongdoing. Sherrill is comfortable with that, given the accountability she faced as a member of the military.
Even more brazen is Becchi’s invented claim that Sherrill wants to defund the police. That’s just not true, and Becchi offers no support for the charge. To top it off, a bill Sherrill sponsored, called the Smart Act, would provide $500 billion in direct state and local aid, much of which is used to pay police budgets. That bill was endorsed by the Policeman’s Benevolent Association, more evidence that Becchi is just lying on this one.
And who is really the dangerous radical? Despite New Jersey’s relatively strong gun laws, it is still possible for criminals to buy high-powered firearms in other states, and bring them to New Jersey. Becchi offers no answer to that problem.
In a recent debate, Sherrill pressed her to defend NRA positions, like its support for ghost guns and 3-D printing, which allow criminals to create untraceable weapons, or a ban on silencers that enable ambush-style attacks against police. Becchi offered no defense.
Becchi’s campaign based on abolishing the Affordable Care Act isn’t an easy sell to the more than 300,000 people with pre-existing conditions in this district, either.
Republican Tom MacArthur lost his seat in a very similar New Jersey swing district in 2018, for just this reason, after he signed up with President Trump’s effort to repeal the ACA. Like MacArthur, Becchi has a child with a pre-existing condition and falls back on her personal story.
But Republican promises to protect people with pre-existing conditions are fake. Those plans would force insurers to sell policies to those with pre-existing conditions, but they would allow insurers to charge more, putting those policies out of reach. In effect, that’s no protection at all.
Becchi also cites her child’s birth as the reason that she opposes a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Her personal decision is admirable. But why should the government make that decision for every woman, regardless of her circumstances?
She has a record of staking out minority positions in favor of powerful clients. Becchi lobbied for the 2017 GOP tax bill, despite the bite it took out of this district, by eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, known as SALT. While that raised taxes on millions of regular people in New Jersey, it gave her client, ExxonMobil, a nearly $6 billion windfall. And as recently as this year, she lobbied for Western Union, under fire for its inability to stop terrorism financing and other money laundering.
We’ll take the former prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot who now serves her country in Congress, over a corporate lobbyist who raised our taxes and wants to take away our health care. Vote for Mikie Sherrill.