MAPLEWOOD – This Essex County town is new to CD-11 and Mikie Sherrill has to be pretty happy to have it.
Back in 2018 – the last midterm election – Democrats won here by about 10-to-1.
But every election is a new story, so at noon on a rainy, but unseasonably warm, Sunday, Sherrill rallied her supporters outside a home on Summit Avenue.
She was joined by Phil Murphy.
And it was the governor who had no trouble getting right into the flow of things.
He said GOP control of Congress would threaten Social Security, Medicare, marriage equality and many other progressive initiatives.
Sherrill described her race – and perhaps the race across the nation – as a fight for “our kids, and our state and our nation.”
Sherrill has been running attack ads against Republican Paul DeGroot for weeks. But on this day, she ignored her GOP opponent.
Instead she spoke of the need for democracy itself to triumph.
This has become a central Democratic campaign message, given the fact there are “election deniers” running for office as Republicans all over the country.
The congresswoman recalled a speech given to her caucus by Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize winning historical biographer. Meacham noted that even in the nation’s darkest days, there were always enough Americans to support the preservation of democratic government.
Maybe not all, she said, but enough.
And she expressed confidence that whatever else happens, New Jersey is ready to lead the fight for democracy.
Murphy was mindful of a more grounded possibility – Kevin McCarthy becoming House Speaker next year. He observed:
“These guys are on the wrong side of history.”
The rally ended with Murphy leading supporters in a chant of “Mikie, Mikie.”