After debating earlier in the week, Rosemary Becchi and Mikie Sherrill appeared separately yesterday and today in virtual forums with the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.
As a business organization, the chamber traditionally has a Republican tilt. But perhaps owing to her incumbency, the group seemed very comfortable with Sherrill.
Becchi, the GOP challenger to Sherrill in the suburban 11th Congressional district, declared in her opening statement that the election is a “choice between freedom and socialism.”
In contrast to that rhetorical flourish, the rest of the program was somewhat tame.
Two issues stood out.
One was health care.
Becchi said in a video a few weeks ago that she wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.
But when asked about her view of the ACA at the chamber event, she said nothing about getting rid of it.
She stressed that, “I would never, ever take away coverage for preexisting conditions.”
This is the tightrope of sorts many Republicans are trying to navigate. Abolishing the ACA has been a Republican aim since the law was passed 10 years ago.
But doing so would terminate a popular provision that bans insurance companies from discriminating against those with preexisting conditions.
Becchi went on to say that she wants more private sector competition in the health insurance industry and that she fears an overwhelmingly government run system.
When that question was posed to Sherrill, she said, “The president has gone to court to undo the ACA.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has twice upheld the ACA, but another challenge is scheduled to be heard in November. Democrats worry that with Amy Coney Barrett possibly joining the court by that time, the outcome may be different.
Sherrill said doing away with the ACA would immediately hurt about 300,000 people in the district with preexisting conditions.
There were also somewhat competing sentiments about voting.
Sherrill said she has confidence in the voting regulations, but suggested that people use the lock-boxes, of which there are at least 10 in every county.
“We tend to think this is one of the best ways to vote,” she said.
Republicans in general have been more apprehensive than Dems about how voting is being done this year.
Becchi, in fact, told the chamber, “I’m worried that people are going to be frustrated and not vote.”