“As a Navy helicopter pilot and former federal prosecutor, Mikie Sherrill has spent her life serving our country. With a lifetime of fighting for our values, Mikie will put her community first, work to find common ground and get things done for New Jersey. Mikie is running an exceptional campaign and has the strength and toughness to flip this seat come November.” –DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján
To: Interested Parties
From: Evan Lukaske, DCCC regional press secretary
Date: June 5, 2018
Re: The Case Against Jay Webber
The primary results in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District put Democrats in an excellent position to flip this highly educated, affluent swing seat. The general election pits grassroots’-favored Navy helicopter pilot and former federal prosecutor Mikie Sherrill against far-right career politician Jay Webber. Sherrill’s dedication to serving her country, first in the military, then in the Justice Department, cuts cleanly across party lines, and contrasts sharply with Jay Webber’s profile as a career politician who supports a Republican agenda that has led to higher taxes and increased health care premiums for many Garden State families.
Few districts in the country have seen a more energized grassroots organization. Local groups’ dogged pursuit of outgoing Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, coupled with Sherrill’s strong candidacy, pushed the 22-year incumbent out the door. But with positions to the right of Frelinghuysen, Webber is an even worse fit for the district. Webber is stridently anti-choice, sponsored an amendment to ban gay marriage, voted against foreclosure protection program for Hurricane Sandy victims, and opposed legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
The unprecedented grassroots energy, coupled with the stark contrast between Sherrill and Webber, make Sherrill the clear favorite to win this seat in November.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“The likely Democratic nominee is retired Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill, who had nearly $1.7 million in campaign funds at the end of March. She was already on pace to give GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen the re-election race of his life, before he announced his retirement. Republican state Assemblyman Jay Webber had $221,000 in the bank, about the same amount as two lower-tier Democrats. We’re changing our rating of the race from Toss-up to Tilt Democratic.” [Inside Elections, 5/4/18]
“…[Sherrill] sounds less like a rookie candidate and more like she could be the next secretary of state.” [Rolling Stone, 6/12/17]
“In Webber, she’ll find a staunch opponent of abortion who repeatedly voted against Planned Parenthood clinics in New Jersey and once read from a Planned Parenthood International brochure on the Assembly floor.” [Politico NJ, 2/8/18]
“…[Webber] signed on as a prime sponsor to a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and woman. Webber is a gun rights supporter and has voted against a slew of Democratic bills over the years, including legislation that would have limited the maximum allowed capacity of ammunition magazines and a ban on sales of the powerful .50 caliber rifle.” [Politico NJ, 2/8/18]
JAY WEBBER: FAR-RIGHT CAREER POLITICIAN
Tax Scam Supporter
Webber supports the Republican Tax Scam, a massive giveaway to big corporations and the rich. The Tax Scam hurts New Jersey more than any other state in the country and a key cause of the financial pain is the capping of the state and local tax deduction, a major tax break that saves Garden State families thousands of dollars per year. Incredibly, 53% of filers in NJ-11 claim the SALT deduction—the second highest percentage of any district in the entire country.
On the trail, Webber will have to explain to voters why 83% of the tax cuts go to the wealthiest one percent, why big corporations deserve larger tax cuts than middle-class families, why companies that have announced nearly $400 billion in stock buybacks are simultaneously laying off workers, and why he voted to blow a $1.9 trillion hole in the deficit. Speaker Ryan may be retiring, but not before making a clear, problematic declaration that Republicans like Webber will have to address: Republicans intend to use the deficit hole they created to slash Medicare and Social Security.
Significantly, the bill also gutted the Affordable Care Act and the nonpartisan CBO found it will increase health care premiums in a state that just experienced a 24% spike last year.
Supports Health Care Repeal
A supporter of ACA repeal efforts, Webber owns the deeply unpopular Republican health care repeal bill, which would have gutted pre-existing condition protections, imposed an age tax, increased deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, and done nothing to lower the price of prescription drugs. Had the bill passed, nearly 28,000 constituents in NJ-11 would have lost their health care coverage.
Even though their bill ultimately failed in the Senate, Republicans did succeed in causing massive spikes in New Jersey health care premiums. Directly citing uncertainty in health care markets due to the Republican effort to repeal the ACA, New Jersey’s largest health insurer hiked premium rates an average of 24% for 2018.
Unfortunately, the damage is just getting started. The Congressional Budget Office released a report this May showing that health insurance premiums will rise about 15% next year largely due to the actions of Congressional Republicans and President Trump.
Webber’s beliefs and voting record in Trenton are far to the right of this purple district, most recently represented by the relatively moderate Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen. Webber has consistently staked out the most extreme position possible.
He’s voted against establishing a foreclosure protection program for Sandy victims, against requiring insurers to cover adolescent depression screenings, and against cutting the price of Naloxone, an emergency medication for opioid overdoses. Webber was one of only two Assembly members to vote against equal pay for women.
THE PATH TO VICTORY
New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District is a highly educated, affluent, suburban district that is moving toward Democrats. The district is 38% more affluent than the state average and the number of constituents with college degrees is 38% higher than the state average.
President Trump only carried the district by half a percentage point in 2016. And after former Republican Governor Chris Christie cleared 60% in both his gubernatorial elections, Democratic Governor Phil Murphy earned 53% of the vote in 2017.
Navy helicopter pilot and former federal prosecutor Mikie Sherrill is in an extremely strong position to flip this seat. Sherrill’s profile as a veteran and prosecutor cut neatly across party lines. Sherrill has become a fundraising powerhouse, raising more than $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2018, and securing more than $1.8 million cash on hand. Sherrill has consolidated substantial local and national support, earning the unanimous support of her local Democratic parties and endorsements from Vote Vets, EMILY’s List, New Politics, and End Citizens United, among others.