CD-11 Flashpoint: Sherrill v. DeGroot

MADISON –  Republican Paul DeGroot talked for months about getting on the debate stage with Mikie Sherrill, often cracking that he wanted to “prosecute” her.

He got his chance Wednesday night at a League of Women Voters’ forum at Drew University. Prosecution by the guy who is a retired Passaic County assistant prosecutor wasn’t really possible, but that wasn’t necessarily DeGroot’s fault.

The League runs very structured debates that often eliminate, or at least curtail, robust discussion. The venue – a concert hall – was just about packed, but the audience was scolded by the moderator each time someone had the audacity to applaud. This made for a rather sterile environment. There was also a third candidate on stage – Libertarian Joseph Biasco. (More about him later).

Each congressional district is different, but they are also kind of the same.

Generally speaking, Republicans want these contests to be about inflation; Dems want to talk about women’s rights.

The CD-11 forum was no exception.

DeGroot talked about rising costs, supply chain problems and grocery carts half full because prices are so high. He said one way to attack the problem is for the government to stop spending.

Sherrill, who is seeking her third term in a district covering parts of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties, agreed inflation was a problem. She contended that Congress is working hard to do something about it.

Congress recently passed – and the president signed – the grandly-named Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to lower drug prices in a number of ways. They include drug cost caps for seniors and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

She also mentioned the CHIPS Act, which is designed to boost the nation’s microchip industry, thereby reducing both costs and a reliance on China.

DeGroot said the issue is not what may happen in the future, but what hasn’t happened.

“What are we doing about the prices now?” he asked.

The Republican made a similar argument regarding crime, which is another top issue for GOP candidates.  DeGroot acknowledged Sherrill’s co-sponsorship of a bill to help police combat auto theft, but said it should have been done earlier.

Before coming to Congress, Sherrill is best known for a nearly 10-year stint in the Navy, but she also served briefly as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

DeGroot has ridiculed her law enforcement service, at times calling her a “fake prosecutor.” His overall point is that she concentrated on criminal justice reform as opposed to, say, fighting terrorism.

Sherrill has spoken of taking “guns off the streets” in Paterson. On Wednesday, DeGroot said he saw no evidence of that, and as a prosecutor in Passaic County, he would have known about it. To which the congresswoman replied that most of her work in that regard was done in Newark.

When it came to abortion, DeGroot sought to establish himself, as he said in his opening statement, as a “different type of Republican.”

He said he is “pro-choice,” but does not think Congress should tell states what to do.

This has given Sherrill an opening that she is trying to exploit with a bevy of TV ads. Her point is that without federal support for abortion rights, “22 million women – and counting” in states that have banned, or will ban, abortion will be without reproductive freedom.

That’s “not OK to me,” Sherrill said, adding that abortion is a “women’s rights issue,” not a state’s rights issue.

DeGroot contends that Sherrill is the “extremist” on this issue, alleging that she backs abortion up to the moment of birth.

The congresswoman suggested that interpretation is very misleading.

She said such late-term abortions are very rare and occur because of developmental abnormalities that make survival of the child after birth unlikely.

As for Biasco, he is a retired Cliffside Park police captain who lives in Lincoln Park. He said that he has raised about $600.

He came across as a 2020 election denier who claimed that the government lies, as does the media. At varying times, he brought up “illegal aliens” being welcomed in Chicago, “globalist” Justin Trudeau using police to crack down on peaceful protesters in Canada and a belief that the COVID vaccine is dangerous.

One understands the LWV belief that all candidates on the ballot deserve to be included in forums. At the same time, many campaign forum organizers restrict participation to those who are truly credible. It’s hard to see a congressional candidate with $600 meeting that threshold.

Comic relief has its place, but probably not when it takes time away from more serious candidates. This is something the League should look at going forward.

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7 responses to “CD-11 Flashpoint: Sherrill v. DeGroot”

  1. I am Joseph Biasco and would be more than happy to discuss all of the issues you mention . Your reporting is the typical “modus operandi” of the Fake News media. Label and disparage while blockading actual discourse.
    I am more than willing to address each and every one of the issues you brought up . Perhaps your prejudice towards my platform precluded you from noticing that I did not launch a single personal attack on the other candidates.
    There is no need to do so when a candidate truly believes the virtues in his platform. Again I am much more than happy to debate all of these issues

  2. A shame Mr. Biasco did not gain some notoriety earlier.
    He’s on target with stopping the influx of Illegal Aliens, being tough on crime with severe mandatory jail terms, protecting gun rights, and many other issues.

    What right does any news outlet have to claim he should not have a voice simply due to lack of funding.

  3. Fred Snowflake is a Communist propagandist who used to write for the Morris County Daily Record a/k/a Daily Wretched. The paper is a failure because of the likes of Snowflake and his ilk. You can tell that Snowflake hasn’t learned anything about the U.S. Constitution, American History or Civics. He says just because you don’t have the funds, that should preclude you from debates because you’re not a “serious candidate”. Snowflake needs to show us where in the U.S. Constitution or laws of the United States & NJ where it says you can only be a candidate based on your financial standing?

    Throughout American History, everyone had the right to run for public office, no matter your financial status, race, creed, sex, education, etc. Snowflake is one of those Socialist elitists that doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, free market capitalism, liberty, right to life, etc. He’s part of the Socialist apparatchik that believes Socialist Central Government is the panacea for all of us. Central governments have failed wherever they’ve been tried, e.g. Soviet Russia, Red China (economy is now starting to tank), Nazi Germany, North Korea, and even in the European Union where the currency and financial stability are on the rocks, inflation is out of control, and the idiots in those Socialist governments have jumped the shark on cutting fossil fuels–to the detriment of ALL Europeans who now face the dismal prospects of freezing to death this winter.

  4. Although I may disagree with Mr. Biasco’s positions, he has every right to participate in a debate with two other established parties. Let the people have a chance to hear all the candidates ideas and they will decide afterward who to vote for. Stop turning these debated into Republicrat/Democan Country clubs and let 3rd parties in!

  5. Mr. Snowflack, the first requirement of a columist is get the details straight-accuarcy. You started the flashpoint: Sherill v. DeGroot incorrectly. You did not even get the day of the debate right. The second requirement is proof reading what you wrote. Apparently you failed that also. Anything else you write thereafter is less creditable. Try better next time.

  6. I’ve noticed that I am yet to be taken up on the offer to discuss all the issues I brought up . Perhaps he noticed Congresswoman Sherrill’s dismay when actually being confronted with the truth and the establishment not being there to come to the rescue . This gentleman is certainly in the right profession.

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