Sherriff Gannon Drawn Into CD-11 Scrap with Denville Democratic Activist Grant

The Jay Webber for Congress campaign last month issued a press release pledging strong support for ICE and criticizing Democratic opponent Mikie Sherrill for allegedly not supporting the agency. (Sherrill since has said she supports ICE, but that reforms are needed.)

The release included comments of support for ICE – and Webber – by the two Republican sheriffs in the 11th District, James Gannon in Morris County and Michael Strada in Sussex County.

The notion of two Republican sheriffs supporting the GOP candidate for Congress certainly seemed unremarkable.

But not to Bob Grant.

Grant, a long-time Democratic activist from Denville, claims Gannon is violating state ethics law.

In a letter to the Local Government Finance Board, Grant writes, “I want to ask censure of Morris County Sheriff James Gannon for violation of the Local Government Ethics Law in that he used his official position as Morris County Sheriff to promote the candidacy of Jay Webber, the Republican candidate for the 11th District congressional seat.”

Grant’s central point is that Gannon is mixing his duties as an elected official with his desire to support Webber. He argues that Gannon expressed support for ICE, not in reply to, say, a reporter’s query, but as part of a coordinated effort with Webber’s campaign.

And that, he says, is not proper.

Grant, who long has tussled with county Republicans on a variety of issues, used the Open Public Records Act to get copies of emails between Gannon and the Webber campaign; emails that he says bolster his point.

Sheriffs in New Jersey are law enforcement officials, but they’re also elected officials, which by definition brings them into the political arena. It is certainly not unknown for sheriffs to lend their names and thoughts to political campaigns.

In fact, a Sherrill press release last week on ICE included comments of support for her position from the two Democratic sheriffs in the district, Armando Fontoura of Essex County and Richard Berdnik of Passaic County.

Grant said he’s received notification that the state is reviewing his complaint.

Gannon said any problem was an “innocent mistake” and that he’d be more careful in the future. He said that anyone with more than one email address would understand how this situation could occur.

He added that the complaint is “much ado about nothing.”

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2 responses to “Sherriff Gannon Drawn Into CD-11 Scrap with Denville Democratic Activist Grant”

  1. You wrote that Sherrill “has since said she supports ICE but that reforms are needed.” That’s incorrect, she has always said that. It’s nothing new. It’s not been “since” . It’s always been her position. Yet Webber continues to make false claims about her positions, whether about tax law or immigration. Please call him out when he does this, it’s misleading and inaccurate. The people of NJ deserve better.

  2. Both Sherriff Gannon and Sherriff Strada repeated Jay Webber’s bald-faced lies at Webber’s press conference. Both sheriffs owe Mikie Sherrill an apology.

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