PARSIPPANY – Tayfun Selen tonight won the coveted endorsement of Morris County Republicans to run for Congress in CD-11.
Selen, now a Morris County commissioner, beat Larry Casha, a long-time political activist, by 15 votes – 240 to 225. Selen is now the frontrunner to carry the GOP’s banner against Democrat Mikie Sherrill this fall.
“We’re going to win this election,” Selen told a crowd of party loyalists at GOP headquarters. He saluted his main opponent, Casha, and also the other four men who sought the congressional nod.
He urged unity and said Republicans have to come together to flip the seat.
Casha said he knew it was going to be a close vote.
“You live with the process, and I can do that,” he said.
CD-11 spans parts of Morris, Essex and Passaic counties, but Morris makes up the largest part of the district.
Tonight’s event was both historic and a bit anticlimactic.
This is the first time Morris Republicans have endorsed primary candidates in a race for Congress.
The county party just adopted a “county line” last year.
The endorsement was to take place last week, but when the evening drifted past midnight, the committee postponed runoffs in both CD-11 and CD-7, which covers parts of western Morris. Voting took place online on Thursday and in-person today, Friday. Results were announced shortly after 8 p.m.
In CD-7, Thomas H. Kean Jr. won the Morris endorsement over John Isemann 88 to 42. Kean narrowly lost a run for Congress in 2020.
Selen’s prediction of victory, notwithstanding, the new map has made CD-11 more Democratic than it has been, which is good news for Sherrill.
Of the four other candidates who sought the congressional nod, one of them, Paul DeGroot, says he will run in the primary. He has been endorsed by Passaic County Republicans.
Casha said he has some “soul searching” to do. He said during the campaign that he would endorse the Morris convention winner if all the other candidates did as well.
Selen’s win may have surprised some. He is a newcomer to Morris political life, especially when compared to Casha, who was endorsed by the two state Assemblymen from LD-26, Christian Barranco and Jay Webber.