Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor, wants Rodney Frelinghuysen’s seat in the House of Representatives.
And for the first time in decades, Democrats have a good shot at unseating the 12-term congressman, who has enraged progressives in his district by a steady turn to the far right and, most recently, his yes vote on Trump/Ryancare.
“[Frelinghuysen] has definitely been rubber-stamping Trump’s agenda and putting his own personal agenda ahead of his district,” Sherrill told the NJ Observer. “I just decided it was time that this district had a congressperson ahead of their own Washington ambitions.”
Sherill is a veteran who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a Navy helicopter pilot in Europe and the Middle East. She holds a law degree from Georgetown University, and she was a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey.
Sherill lives in Montclair. Her home is actually in the 10th congressional district, a few blocks from the boundaries of the 11th, which Frelinghuysen represents. There is no requirement, though, for members of Congress to live in their district, and Sherill notes that family life—including church and her children’s activities—is all centered in the district she wants to represent.
For more than two decades, Frelinghuysen, who likes to portray himself as a moderate but who now has rock-bottom ratings with progressive organizations and accolades from groups like the National Rifle Association.
Although he recently assumed the powerful position of chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Frelinghuysen could be vulnerable to losing his seat in 2108.
Grassroots groups such as New Jersey 11th for Change, which has grown to become a Super PAC in its few short months of existence, are pressing Frelinghuysen for accountability, and the redistricting of the 11th, which resulted in inclusion of solidly Democratic parts of Essex County, are counterbalancing the congressman’s traditionally reliable wealthy, conservative, white Morris County base.
The 11th district includes Byram, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta and Stanhope in Sussex County.