WOODLAND PARK – After mulling over his own 11th District Congressional candidacy next year, Mayor Keith Kazmark this afternoon formally announced his decision to forego a run, and instead backed former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill in the Democratic Primary.
InsiderNJ first reported this story here.
Sherrill came to Kazmark’s bucolic, hilly, Lion, Witch and Wardrobe-like town this afternoon to collect the endorsement, as she trudges toward what she hopes is a 2018 showdown with incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11).
“After much consideration and in light of recent events, I have drawn the conclusion that the work here in Woodland Park is unfinished,” Kazmark said, two days after the Las Vegas killings. “I’ve also made the consideration that the time it would take me to run a full-fledged campaign would take me away from my family.
“So with that, I am very excited to endorse Mikie Sherrill for Congress in the 11th Congressional District,” the mayor added, standing in Dowling Park with the congressional candidate of his choice and an equally affirmative council behind him. “While traveling throughout the district, I had the distinct opportunity to observe the candidates who expressed interest in this race. Without question, Mikie stood out.”
Her record speaks for itself, Kazmark said of the former prosecutor and military veteran.
“I have no doubt she will be the next congresswoman representing us in the 11th district,” he added, before slapping at Frelinghuysen, whom he says has underrepresented the district.
When the veteran became chair of the appropriations committee, many thought it would be a huge boon to the towns in the 11th District, Kazmark said. But “all it has done pin him between the political hierarchy of Washington, D.C., where he invariably sides with Speaker Paul Ryan, the mayor charged.
During the press conference, he committed himself to serving as Sherrill’s surrogate – “wherever she wants me to go.”
For her part, Sherrill said, “I am deeply honored to have the endorsement of Mayor Kazmark and the Woodland Park Council. On the campaign trail, I have been struck by his call to action.”
Veteran North Jersey reporter Richard Cowen asked Kazmark if his endorsement of Sherrill should be interpreted as a slap at the Democratic establishment and Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett, who’s already in the CD11 contest. No, Kazmark said. He just thinks Sherrill gives the party the best chance to win in next year’s general election, he said.
“You never want to run against anyone in your own party,” Sherrill said. “I want to run against Rodney Frelinghuysen. But we’re prepared to run in a primary.”