After Fiasco, Anderson Wants a New Morris GOP Convention

Toby Anderson ain’t going away quietly.

A political unknown until a few weeks ago, Anderson very nearly pushed his way into the runoff for the CD-11 endorsement of Morris County Republicans. He fell five votes short of Larry Casha, the second place winner at last week’s GOP convention. Tayfun Selen finished first, but didn’t get a majority in a 6-person race.

So Selen and Casha will runoff later this week to settle things.

But not if Anderson has his way.

He is circulating a petition among Morris County Republican Committee members demanding that this week’s runoff be cancelled and that a new convention be held.

Anderson’s petition lists a number of alleged violations of committee bylaws that occurred last week.

They include adding names (voters) to the roster of county committee members after a Feb. 25 deadline to do so, allowing members who showed up after the announced 7:30 p.m. deadline to still vote and not permitting observers to watch the vote tabulation.

Referencing the closeness of the race, the petition asks, “How many voters were added to the clerk’s list after February 25? How many voters who arrived after 7:30 p.m. were permitted to vote?”

More broadly, the petition takes note of the national Republican position about the importance of voter integrity. With that in mind, the petition says it is “unthinkable” that the Morris committee would be so lax in enforcing its own convention rules.

Anderson is not alone.

The beauty of social media has unleashed considerable “chatter” about the problems at last week’s convention, namely that voting took so long, the committee postponed runoffs in both CD-7 and CD-11 until this week. That decision was made around midnight.

Some comments expressed no confidence in the committee’s ability to run a convention and others called for a new convention with all six CD-11 candidates and with paper ballots. This would be a “do-over,” which those old enough to have played touch football or stickball in the street, remember well.

Laura Ali, the county GOP chair, says the machine count was accurate, but that voting took so long because the committee was given new machines to use when it preferred older models. She is confident the runoff will go smoothly.  Plans are for online voting on Thursday and in-person voting at county Republican headquarters in Parsippany on Friday.

That, of course, is not what Anderson wants. It will be interesting to see how many committee members sign his petition.

Of more relevance is who wins the Casha-Selen runoff and how many of the losing candidates run in the primary. The filing deadline for that is April 4.

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio said today that it’s important to remember the widespread enthusiasm among committee members at the convention. Pennacchio, who has been active in county politics for almost 30 years, said that was unprecedented.

Fair point, but it is also fair to wonder if the unhappiness of some over the convention will dull that enthusiasm.

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