Republican State Committeeman Larry Casha is exploring a challenge Rep. Mikie Sherill (D-Montclair) in New Jersey’s 11th district next year, InsiderNJ has reported.
Casha had briefly entered the 2020 race but was pushed out of the race as part of a deal to get Rosemary Becchi to drop her challenge to Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the 7th district and instead run against Sherrill.
The move cleared the field for Republican Tom Kean, Jr. to take on Malinowski, but to do so, GOP county chairs in Morris, Essex, Passaic and Sussex had to push Casha out of the race and endorse Becchi.
A former Kinnelon council president, Casha cited an “eye toward the greater cause” in his January 21 withdrawal from the race. That came two days after Becchi switched districts.
Becchi, a lobbyist who once served as tax counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, won 46.7% against Sherrill in last year’s election, losing by 29,150 votes in a campaign where the coronavirus pandemic limited her ability to meet voters.
She is mulling a rematch with Sherrill, but the uncertainties of what the 11th district will look like after redistricting has slowed her formal entrance int the race.
Depending on how the 11th looks after new district lines are draw, the Morris County Republican Convention could be a critical contest for Casha and other Republicans looking to take on Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and ex-federal prosecutor who slipped a GOP House seat in 2018.
Morris changed their party rules and established an organization line earlier this year.
Tayfun Selen, a Morris County Commissioner and former Chatham Township mayor, entered the race last month.
As a candidate in 2020, Selen outpolled Sherrill in the 11th district portion of Morris County by 8,759 votes and ran five percentage points better than President Donald Trump. He now holds the record for the most votes every received by a countywide candidate in Morris County,
The 11th district has trended Democratic since it was last drawn a decade ago with 24,176 more Republicans than Democrats.
The current 11th has 9,278 more Democrats than Republicans and Biden carried the district by a 53%-46% margin. Trump won the 11th by a narrow one-point margin in 2016, when there were 13,813 more Republicans than Democrats; Frelinghuysen won his twelfth term by a 58%-39% margin that year.
Four other Republicans have also launched bids to take on Sherrill: screenwriter Hillery Brotschol, Sparta attorney Robert Kovic, former Republican National Committee staffer Thomas Toomey, and Patrick Quinn, a realtor from Pompton Lakes.