30 Miles of Roadway: Driving into the Details of the Tuesday All-Evening CD-11 Collision

Insider NJ's Fred Snowflack argues that action on expanding background checks for buying a gun and banning military-style firearms is needed after the latest mass shootings.

Jay Webber had to know what was coming. Ever since he pushed the “no” button earlier this year on an equal pay for equal work bill in the state Legislature, he had to know this was going to be a political problem down the road.

But he did it anyway. This was either a display of principled courage or abject idiocy. Take your pick.

Now with the congressional race in the 11th District less than four weeks away, Webber Tuesday night gave his most personal defense yet of his vote.

Before a few hundred people assembled at the Jewish Federation of MetroWest NJ in Hanover, Webber spoke of his four young daughters.

“You better believe they are going to be treated fairly in the workplace,” he said. If they aren’t, Webber, a lawyer, said he would personally take their cases to court.

He also mentioned that his wife, who like the candidate, received a law degree from Harvard, wouldn’t have it any other way.

His overall point here is that current law already mandates pay equality and that the recent bill in Trenton was mere symbolism.

Webber made the comments when he was asked to correct any misconceptions about him raised so far in the campaign. He seized the opportunity to correct what he said was an erroneous charge that he opposes equal pay for women.

The same question had been asked of Democratic candidate Mikie Sherrill. The candidates addressed the group separately for about 30 minutes with Sherrill going first.

When Sherrill had the chance to correct misconceptions, she said she does not support Nancy Pelosi for another stint as Speaker of the House. Webber has constantly tried to link Sherrill to Pelosi.

This issue actually had some “legs.” Immediately after the Metrowest event, the candidates travelled to Ogdensburg in Sussex County for what was a very well-attended candidates’ night in the local firehouse.

Webber again tried to link Sherrill to Pelosi, but there was more. He also said that she “runs with” a corrupt Bob Menendez. At varying times in the campaign, Webber has said Menendez is Sherrill’s “running mate,” a line of attack that defies logic.  Presidents have running mates, not congressional candidates.

Still. Webber clearly wants to bring home the fact Menendez has had well-publicized ethical lapses and that he tops this year’s Democratic ballot.

Sherrill sought to deflect any connection to Menendez afterwards, saying that Webber brings up unrelated matters because he doesn’t want to talk about real issues. She did not specifically comment on Menendez’ past legal woes.

But earlier, Sherrill wondered aloud who Webber would back for speaker if he wins. She brought up the names of such conservatives as Kevin McCarthy of California, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Some of these men have, as they say, “baggage.” Scalise, who was the congressman wounded last year in a shooting at a baseball game, previously has gotten into some hot water for addressing a white supremacy group. McCarthy was a supporter of capping the deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000, a key issue in the race.

Now it was time for Webber to do some deflecting. He said all the people running for speaker are not yet known, so he does not have a favorite.

Over the course of a few hours of politics and about 30 miles of travel (some of it on unlit Sussex County roads), the gun issue came up.

That was at Metrowest and it showed a stark contrast.

Sherrill, who wants better background checks and who says military-style weapons, don’t belong on the streets, said she was not a fan of the NRA.

She said that from rather benign beginnings, the NRA has morphed into a lobbying group for gun manufacturers. Webber also backed better background checks, but had a different take on the NRA.

He compared it to many other public interest groups and said, “Why we would marginalize them is beyond me.”

There were murmurs of disagreement and some shaking of heads among the crowd in Hanover.

You have to figure Webber’s view on the NRA would have played better in Ogdensburg.

But no one asked the question.

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2 responses to “30 Miles of Roadway: Driving into the Details of the Tuesday All-Evening CD-11 Collision”

  1. Tonite at 8 PM, NJTV, CD11 voters will discover that helicopter pilot Sherrill just ain’t ready for prime time.

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