CD11 Examinations: The Names in the Frelinghuysen Game


Despite the fact that Mikie Sherrill and Jack Gebbia have already declared their candidacies for Congress in the 11th District, other names continue to circulate potential challengers to veteran 2018 incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11). The Bergen Record‘s Herb Jackson dived into the 11th district here with a probe of whether or not it is truly winnable by a Democrat, an inquiry accelerated behind the scenes as a consequence of those controversies surrounding¬† President Donald J. Trump, and specifically, missteps made by the congressman.

Here – in addition to Sherrill and Gebbia – are just a handful of the those additional Democrats examining the possibility of going up against Frelinghuysen next year:

Mikie Sherrill outside Frelinghuysen’s district office.

Mikie Sherrill

The Montclair resident actually resides in U.S. Rep. Donald Payne’s (R-11) district, but has already declared her candidacy in opposition to Frelinghuysen. A former prosecutor and former Navy helicopter prosecutor, Sherrill is a soccer – and lacrosse – mom.


Jack Gebbia

A member of the United States National Guard and a student of International Policy, Human Security and Development at Middlebury Institute, Gebbia hails from Boonton.


John McKeon

The bright assemblyman from West Orange never languished in Trenton, impressing environmental advocates when he chaired the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, and never backing down from controversial issues in his chairmanship of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Often cited as a possible future speaker, McKeon has already sat down with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to assess a 2018 run.


Jim Johnson

The former assistant secretary of the Treasury wants to be governor, but lags far behind front-runner Phil Murphy in the polls in advance of the June 6th Democratic Primary. If the Montclair resident can get his chin up over the bar ahead of arch-rival Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) in a week and a day and secure second place, he will have been able to make a case for himself as a serious anti-establishment party player. Some sources say he’s angling for a U.S. Senate seat and will want to exercise caution before undertaking a district-wide run for congress on the heels of a gubernatorial bid – if indeed he wants to undertake another statewide crack at some point. He’s already demonstrated that he can raise money and run a no-joke campaign.

Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, right, with DiVincenzo.

Chris Durkin

The highly popular Essex County Clerk lives in West Caldwell and has for years appeared to be one of the people best positioned to succeed Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. If he decides to run against Frelinghuysen, he would likely have a leg up on the coveted Essex County line as a consequence of his close ties to DiVincenzo and Essex County Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones. But part of what makes the clerk politically potent is the network he has through Durkin channels, including those forged by his late father, Ray Durkin, a Democratic Party State Chairman and Essex County Democratic State Party chair.

John Bartlett

The Passaic County freeholder lives in Wayne, one of those towns long associated with the former 8th Congressional district and the 2011 redistricted U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9). One of the smarter people in North Jersey politics, he holds a law degree from Harvard and is regarded as one of the go-to people on the freeholder board for budgetary matters. Close to powerful Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie.

Kazmark (right).

Keith Kazmark

The mayor of Woodland Park is reportedly taking a very hard look at his options and may elect to run against Frelinghuysen next year.

Gill in the crowd.

Brendan Gill

The Phil Murphy minder – chairman of the Montclair Democratic Committee – has already said he’s focused on the gubernatorial campaign for Murphy, not a future congressional bid. But Gill does serve as an Essex County freeholder and has long shown more than just passing curiosity in pursuing higher office. At the very least, he will be a player in deciding – along with Jones and DiVincenzo – who gets the coveted Essex County Democratic line.


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2 responses to “CD11 Examinations: The Names in the Frelinghuysen Game”

  1. An update to this piece might include that Mikie recently announced that she will be living in the 11th before the primary. Also maybe highlight that some of these men are also soccer or baseball or performing arts dads since it seemed like a pretty important piece of information to highlight that Mikie is a soccer and lacrosse mom.

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