The Clipboard Spied at Grossi’s Pre-Super Bowl Party

MOUNT ARLINGTON – When you see someone walking around a political event with a clipboard, you figure they’re running for something.

That’s what John Sauers, a 27-year-old accountant from Rockaway Township, was doing Wednesday night at Republican Ann Grossi’s pre-Super Bowl party at the local Elks lodge. Grossi was just reelected to her third term as Morris County Clerk.

As for Sauers, he’s starting off with big plans.

The school board? The town council? Not for him. Sauers wants to go to Congress.

He was getting signatures in the hope of being the Republican candidate against Democrat Mikie Sherrill in CD-11.

It’s tempting to be dismissive here. After all, Sherrill got nearly 60 percent of the vote in winning reelection two years ago in a district that was thought to be competitive.

Then again, it takes guts for a young candidate to start off aiming high.

Notwithstanding his age, Sauers described himself as an “old school conservative.” Taxes and the border are his top issues, and true to his description, he’s a big fan of Ronald Reagan.

Ann Grossi


Of course, if you look at the current Republican party, there is nothing “old school conservative” or Reagan-like, about the presumed presidential nominee, Donald Trump. But that’s a story for another time.

So far, there has been very little GOP activity regarding CD-11.

This time of year two years ago, multiple candidates were in the race vying for support at the county’s Republican convention. Debates at GOP events around the district were quite common.

Tayfun Selen, a county commissioner, got the line, but lost in the primary to Paul DeGroot.

Toby Anderson, who finished third in the 2022 primary, is running again this year for the Republican CD-11 nomination, as is Joseph Belnome of Belleville. Belnome ran unsuccessfully last year for the state Senate in LD-34.

On his congressional candidate webpage, Belnome calls himself “Jersey Joe.”  Just for the record, state Sen. Joe Pennacchio of LD-26, has used the “Jersey Joe” moniker for years.

On this night, where keeping in step with the sporting theme, hot dogs and beer were the main menu items, Sauers was having no trouble getting signatures.

Grossi’s annual event always draws a nice crowd and this one was no exception. Grossi thanked the crowd for attending and supporting her reelection.

She pointed out that she won her 2023 race by a greater margin than she did in 2018. Just for the record, Grossi got almost 54 percent of the vote in 2018; she got more than 55 percent last year.

“I am forever grateful,” Grossi said.

Of more relevance perhaps, Grossi won her 2023 race by about 12,000 votes, a healthy margin in a county that has gotten more competitive.

In comparison, Republicans only won the commissioner’s race by about 6,000 votes and the LD-25 Assembly race was just about a dead heat in the county. The GOP prevailed with a big help from West Milford, the only LD-25 town in Passaic County.

If you look at Congress, Sherrill has won the Morris County part of CD-11 since she began running in 2018.

By the way, both DeGroot and Selen were in the crowd – just in case Sauers needed advice about running for Congress.




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