Mikie Sherrill was a Godsend for Democrats when she got into the race for Congress four years ago in what was then a solidly-Republican 11th District in suburban New Jersey.
The district was changing – primarily because of Donald Trump’s uncanny ability to drive away many moderate Republicans. Trump never has done well with college graduates and that aptly describes the district.
Beyond that, Sherrill had what looked like a “Republican resume” – Naval Academy, a helicopter pilot overseas and then a stint in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Republicans have tried mightily to link Sherrill to the Democratic left, but it just doesn’t wash. She won in 2018 and was reelected last fall.
Which is why some see the congresswoman as a prime candidate for higher office.
And now, she’s getting national attention.
In the wake of the Jan. 6 riots in the Capitol, Sherrill used a Facebook Live chat about a week later to make a startling, but serious, allegation – the rioters were helped and guided by supportive members of Congress.
Most of her remarks that evening were about the events themselves, but near the end, the congresswoman talked about the need to hold lawbreakers accountable.
She said that has to include “those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on January 5,” suggesting this could have been some sort of reconnaissance mission.
Federal authorities are reportedly investigating that point and the congresswoman presumably has talked to them, or will be asked to do so.
This is a crazy possibility, but it is in step with the times.
The Capitol normally allows visitors, but COVID has stopped that. However, members of Congress apparently are permitted to bring visitors into the building.
Sherrill’s point is that she saw some members – they were not identified – leading groups of people through the building. She suggested that this wasn’t a case of a House member showing his office to his sister and brother-in-law.
Any investigation would seemingly focus on a few obvious points.
One can assume that on Jan.5, the visitors were in town for the next day’s protest/rally. Many people attended the protest, but not all of them actually took part in the riot, or entered the Capitol.
Authorities would need to find out if the people getting this private tour actually entered the building the next day.
And if breaking into and ransacking the building was the aim, did the members of Congress conducting the tour know that?
These answers, or perhaps no answers at all, will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, Sherrill’s national profile has increased greatly, making her political future more interesting to watch.