And They’re Off: Sherrill v. DeGroot

A few days after Jan. 6, 2021, Mikie Sherrill said she had seen then-unnamed Republican congress members showing visitors around the Capitol on Jan. 5.

The question she raised was obvious. Did some of those escorted by GOP House members on Jan. 5 storm the building on Jan. 6?

Sherrill’s claim was ridiculed by some local Republicans, but an investigation ensued after more Dems joined in to demand one.

This week, the House committee investigating Jan. 6 released a video showing Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia showing visitors around the complex on Jan. 5, one of whom was apparently part of the mob that entered the Capitol the next day.

So the congresswoman was right.

Sort of.

Loudermilk in his defense points to a letter from Capitol Police who said they found nothing suspicious about the tour.

Like much in politics these days, this comes down to what side you are on.

On one hand, Loudermilk did bring at least one man into the complex who took part in the next day’s events.

Yet, on the other hand, the police said nothing was amiss with the so-called tour.

All this is relevant because the race in CD-11 is just beginning and we probably have not heard the last about this.

The new map has made the district, which spans parts of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties, more Democratic. However, some Republicans think they have a strong candidate in Paul DeGroot, who won the primary despite not being endorsed by GOP leaders in Morris and Essex counties.

DeGroot is a former assistant prosecutor in Passaic County.

Not only that, a release from his camp this week referred to him as a “tough-as-nails” former prosecutor. There’s nothing like trying to create an image right off the bat.

DeGroot also was quick to comment on another law enforcement-related issue that popped up this week.

The House passed a bill – previously approved by the Senate – to bolster protection for U.S. Supreme Court judges. This followed an incident in which a man showed up outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh allegedly with plans to kill him.

This is the type of legislation destined to win bipartisan support – even in today’s climate. And it did – but with one pertinent exception.

Sherrill and five other House Dems from New Jersey voted no.

In a joint statement, they said the problem was that the bill did not require protection for all federal judges. This is a real issue in New Jersey.

Two years ago, a man forced his way into the New Jersey home of federal judge Esther Salas, fatally shot her son and injured her husband.

So voting “no” was a protest vote.

Not surprisingly, DeGroot went on the offensive.

“The fact is, Rep. Mikie Sherrill is deliberately enabling increased chances of political violence against Supreme Court justices & their families,” he said in a statement.

Well, Sherrill and the other “no” voters from New Jersey are not encouraging that at all. The bill passed and by now has been signed by the president. So, the upgraded security for Supreme Court judges will happen. And it’s possible the “no” votes will compel action on extending security to all federal judges. That would be a good thing.

Just the same, there is some political danger in voting no on legislation to protect judges of the Supreme Court.

Some voters don’t care about a protest vote or nuance. They just look at the bottom line – did you vote yes or no?

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