PARSIPPANY – Larry Casha threw down the challenge Tuesday afternoon – he wants to go one-on-one with Tayfun Selen.
They are the only two left standing in the battle for the pivotal CD-11 endorsement by the Morris County Republican Committee. Selen and Casha, who finished one and two at last week’s GOP convention, are scheduled to runoff for the endorsement over a two-day voting period on Thursday and Friday.
And so it was that Casha challenged Selen to a virtual debate this evening to be hosted by Save Jersey, a conservative-leaning news site.
Casha is hyping the debate on social media, saying, “I’m confident once you see me and my opponent go head to head, you’ll agree with Jay Webber and Christian Barranco: I’m the best choice to take on Congresswoman Sherrill.”
Selen said he wants a debate as well.
But as is often the case in politics, it’s not that simple.
Selen said he wants an “in-person” debate on Thursday morning. That would be just prior to the noon start of voting. He said the Casha campaign “advertised the time and the day without confirming with me.” He also said he can’t debate tonight because of a prior commitment.
Needless to say, putting together a live debate on a Thursday morning may be a bit of a challenge. Still, the Casha campaign says it’s ready to debate any time, any place, so we will see what happens.
Meanwhile, Toby Anderson, who finished third in the race and missed the runoff by a mere five votes, has asked the committee to scrap the runoff and hold a new convention. That is not expected to happen.
So, at this writing, it looks like no debate and a Casha-Selen runoff starting on Thursday.
That brings us to a battle of endorsements.
As he pointed out, Casha has been endorsed by Webber and Barranco, the two assemblymen from LD-26.
Selen in recent days has announced endorsements from Robert Kovic, who finished sixth at the convention, and fellow county Commissioner Doug Cabana.
Cabana’s support is interesting, because he and Selen have been on opposite sides on the board of commissioners – at least on some issues, most prominently a never-ending battle over buying new voting machines.
The latest episode in that saga unfolded Tuesday when the board backed a nearly $5 million bond ordinance to buy new machines, However, the actual purchase of machines won’t happen until a resolution is adopted in the next few weeks.
Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo has strenuously opposed the planned purchase of machines manufactured by ES&S – Elections Systems & Software, saying he objects to the in-house process that recommended the purchase.
Cabana and Mastrangelo have been aligned on the voting machine issue. Selen has been on the other side.
But that apparently didn’t dissuade Cabana from making his endorsement.