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Trump endorses Republican candidate in key NJ House race

Trump endorses Republican candidate in key NJ House race
© Anna Moneymaker

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE is endorsing Republican state Assemblyman Jay Webber in a top New Jersey House race that Democrats have been heavily targeting this cycle.

Webber is running in the race to replace retiring Rep. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenElection Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Trump to fundraise for GOP candidate in key NJ House race Florida politics play into disaster relief debate MORE (R-N.J.), who held office in the 11th District for more than two decades. Webber faces Democratic opponent Mikie Sherrill, who’s been heralded as a top recruit for the party.

Trump won New Jersey’s 11 District by less than a point in 2016. But nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report has the race rated as "lean Democratic."

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The president said Webber "is outstanding in every way," and added, "Strong on Borders, loves our Military and our Vets" and a "Big Crime fighter."  

New Jersey has become a top battleground in the fight for control of the House. The race to replace Frelinghuysen has gotten some national attention as it appears to trend more blue. Democrats need to flip 23 seats in order to regain the House majority.

There’s been limited polling in the race, but a Monmouth University poll from late June found Sherrill leading Webber by 2 points, within the survey’s margin of error. And the New Jersey Democrat holds a substantial fundraising edge over Webber.

Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor, has also gotten some heavy hitters for her on the campaign trail, with a campaign event earlier this month alongside former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBooker holds 'Get Out the Vote' event in South Carolina as presidential speculation builds Biden, Jackson receive Freedom Awards from National Civil Rights Museum The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns MORE and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

The GOP’s tax law has been a central campaign issue in New Jersey, with many Republican lawmakers from the state opposing it because of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap.

Frelinghuysen voted against the bill, which was signed into law late last year. But Webber has said that while he opposes the SALT deduction cap of $10,000, he would have voted for the tax overhaul.

“The bill in the end is a pro-growth measure that benefits New Jersey and the entire country,” Webber told The Hill in a recent sit-down interview. “No district in the state benefits more than the 11th.”

“While the SALT deduction cap is not a good piece of that overall package, the rest of the package is really good … It’s overall a very good thing and I would have supported it.”