Home>Congress>Chatham mayor won’t take on Sherrill

Tayfun Selen, second from left, is sworn in as mayor of Chatham Township by former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno on January 4, 2019

Chatham mayor won’t take on Sherrill

First Turkish-born mayor in U.S. says he wants to focus on local issues

By David Wildstein, January 16 2019 3:56 pm

Chatham Township Mayor Tayfun Selen says he’s not interested in running against freshman Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) next year.

“I want to focus on Chatham Township,” Selen said.  “I am not considering anything else.”

Selen was sworn in as mayor on January 4, becoming the first Turkish-born mayor in the United States.

A Turkish newspaper had mentioned that Selen wanted to run for Congress.

He was elected to fill an unexpired term on the township committee in 2017.  He became mayor on January 4 and is up for re-election in November.

Once a Republican stronghold, Chatham Township has become a swing town.

Sherill carried Chatham Township by 893 votes in her 2018 campaign against Republican Jay Webber.  Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) carried the township by 1,215 votes in the 2014 mid-term election.

A Republican, Selen won his 2017 race by 85 votes.  A Democrat won last year’s local election by 136 votes.

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5 thoughts on “Chatham mayor won’t take on Sherrill

    1. Right here (pre-scrubbed version):

      “January 10 2019 15:19:00

      ‘My election is a slap in the faces of Conservative Americans,’ says US’ first Turkish mayor

      Nalan Koçak – ISTANBUL

      Tayfun Selen is the first Turkish-origin mayor elected in the U.S., set to run a township in the state of New Jersey after being sworn in on Jan. 4. “My election is a slap in the faces of Conservative Americans”.

      Selen is the new Mayor of Chatham Township in New Jersey, becoming the first Turkish national to hold such a position in the United States.

      Selen spoke of his 22-year-long journey from being an immigrant to running the corridors of political halls. “I graduated from Istanbul Technical University’s Department of Architecture then immigrated to the United States in 1996. I had no money, did not speak proper English. I came here like Don Quixote. I worked in a gas station for nearly eight months. Then I found a humble job in an architecture office but progressed quickly in my career,” he said on Jan. 9.

      He recalled his first step in politics of being at a conference of a senator in the university he was working for. “I got a job at Montclair State University in New Jersey. One day, in the university I encountered a huge crowd in one of the conference venues. They were listening to a congressman from the Democrats. At that moment I developed an interest for politics,” he said.

      His first step into politics came when Selen applied and got appointed for the zoning commission of Chatham Township in 2003. His career in politics accelerated when he became a U.S. citizen as he joined the Republican Party’s township administration in 2013.

      In 2015 he joined the municipal council, which eventually led to his election. He got support from three of the five members of the council. In Chatham, by law, the public elects the council and then the council determines the mayor.

      ‘Election of a Turk an important message’

      He said the campaign period was fierce and a tough one.

      “It was as though the candidates were racing for the White House, it was that fierce. Chatham is very conservative, they are not that migrant-friendly. As a Turkish-American, my election was a slap in the faces of white, Christian Americans. But I convinced them with my efforts and pledges,” Selen said.
      Despite being a member of the Republican Party, Selen thinks the policies of President Donald Trump have polarized the American society. “On the one side we have white, male, rich Americans. On the other side, we have the white, but poor and angry Americans. They claim the migrants got everything from our hands. We had similar issues in our town. But I told the voters that the election of a Turk would give a small but important message especially within the Republican Party. When I joined the Republicans, Trump wasn’t president. I became entangled in the party for this once. What can I do? I could not figure out Trump,” he said.

      Selen’s next plan is to be elected to Congress.”

    2. Paul – here you go (unscrubbed edition):

      “January 10 2019 15:19:00

      ‘My election is a slap in the faces of Conservative Americans,’ says US’ first Turkish mayor

      Nalan Koçak – ISTANBUL

      Tayfun Selen is the first Turkish-origin mayor elected in the U.S., set to run a township in the state of New Jersey after being sworn in on Jan. 4. “My election is a slap in the faces of Conservative Americans”.

      Selen is the new Mayor of Chatham Township in New Jersey, becoming the first Turkish national to hold such a position in the United States.

      Selen spoke of his 22-year-long journey from being an immigrant to running the corridors of political halls. “I graduated from Istanbul Technical University’s Department of Architecture then immigrated to the United States in 1996. I had no money, did not speak proper English. I came here like Don Quixote. I worked in a gas station for nearly eight months. Then I found a humble job in an architecture office but progressed quickly in my career,” he said on Jan. 9.

      He recalled his first step in politics of being at a conference of a senator in the university he was working for. “I got a job at Montclair State University in New Jersey. One day, in the university I encountered a huge crowd in one of the conference venues. They were listening to a congressman from the Democrats. At that moment I developed an interest for politics,” he said.

      His first step into politics came when Selen applied and got appointed for the zoning commission of Chatham Township in 2003. His career in politics accelerated when he became a U.S. citizen as he joined the Republican Party’s township administration in 2013.

      In 2015 he joined the municipal council, which eventually led to his election. He got support from three of the five members of the council. In Chatham, by law, the public elects the council and then the council determines the mayor.

      ‘Election of a Turk an important message’

      He said the campaign period was fierce and a tough one.

      “It was as though the candidates were racing for the White House, it was that fierce. Chatham is very conservative, they are not that migrant-friendly. As a Turkish-American, my election was a slap in the faces of white, Christian Americans. But I convinced them with my efforts and pledges,” Selen said.

      Despite being a member of the Republican Party, Selen thinks the policies of President Donald Trump have polarized the American society. “On the one side we have white, male, rich Americans. On the other side, we have the white, but poor and angry Americans. They claim the migrants got everything from our hands. We had similar issues in our town. But I told the voters that the election of a Turk would give a small but important message especially within the Republican Party. When I joined the Republicans, Trump wasn’t president. I became entangled in the party for this once. What can I do? I could not figure out Trump,” he said.

      Selen’s next plan is to be elected to Congress.”

    3. Hi Paul,

      Are you offended by Mayor Selen’s actual statement that “my election was a slap in the faces of white, far-rightist Americans.”? If so, why? It seems true to me. Selen’s election was a slap in the face of our former Chatham Township Mayor, Curt Ritter. Mr. Ritter is a white, far-right American. He even flies a Tump flag in his front yard. Since Curt Ritter has been bent out of shape ever since last November’s election, the comment seems pretty accurate to me.

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