Candidate won’t take bait after opponent calls him ‘anti-woman’ (OPINION)
It's a vote that could have an impact on national politics. New Jersey Assemblyman Jay Webber is vying for the congressional seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen. His opponent is former Navy pilot and prosecutor, Mikie Sherrill.
The district is historically Republican and went for President Donald Trump in 2016. That said, the race is expected to be very close, Trump won by only one point, and both national parties and related interest groups are expected to dump a ton of money to sway the voters.
For Sherrill's part, her strategy so far is to attack Jay as an extremist and use his religious convictions against him. Her latest attack on his position on abortion was used as a part of her theme to paint him as 'anti-woman.'
A couple things came to mind for me when I saw this. First, smart political move, but only if Jay takes the bait. For context, lemme take you back a few years. ... In 2001 we had a similar situation with Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, who was running for governor. His opponent, Jim McGreevey, attacked him as an extremist for his position on abortion as well. Problem was, Bret took the bait. He went on the defensive and tried to explain how his pro-life/anti-abortion stance was not extreme.
In this business, if you're explaining, you're losing. Schundler actually ran ads invoking Mother Theresa to make sure everybody got it that he was no extremist. It was an unmitigated disaster. McGreevey ended up winning, and although his time as governor wasn't exactly a success and was marred with a sexual scandal ... the loss for Schundler was effectively the end of his political rise.
Given the context, Webber was faced with a similar attack on his integrity and his principles. Instead of taking the bait, however, Webber has stood up and focused on the actual issues impacting Garden State voters. He's talking about affordability, transportation and taxes.
He joined me on the morning show Wednesday to discuss the positive impact the latest tax cuts have had on residents of the district. He talked about being able to be a voice for positive change in Washington, working on things like a new Hudson River crossing and mass transit. He challenged the notion that the best way to accomplish something in Washington is to be a negative resister to the administration..
Jay has taken the high road and is speaking about things that do impact our day-to-day in New Jersey. Get the roads fixed, the tunnel built and lower our tax burden. All the while protecting and improving the prosperity for middle- and working-class families.
Sherrill has been invited to appear on the show, and although she's joined me in the past on Chasing News, so far we haven't heard back on our invitations. If she does decide to join us to speak with our largest-in-Jersey commuter audience, we hope she'll stay out of the mud of negative campaigning long enough to explain what she plans to accomplish in Washington for the residents of the district.
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