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Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen. (Photo: Tayfun Selen).

Essex GOP backs Selen for Congress in NJ-11

Pinckney gets possible rematch with Payne in NJ-10; Kraemer will take on DiVincenzo

By David Wildstein, March 30 2022 9:57 am

Essex County Republicans have awarded their organization line for Congress in New Jersey’s 11th district to Tayfun Selen, a Morris County commissioner seeking to oust two-term Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in this year’s mid-term elections.

Selen now has the line in Morris and Essex counties, which make up most of the Republican primary vote.  Passaic County Republicans – the new congressional map includes Little Falls, Totowa, Woodland Park and part of Wayne – are backing Paul DeGroot, a former assistant Passaic County Prosecutor.

Selen became the frontrunner earlier this month when he defeated former Kinnelon Councilman Larry Casha on the second ballot at the Morris County GOP convention.  Casha later dropped out of the race.

The field of four GOP candidates — Toby Anderson, a U.S. Army veteran, and Ruth McAndrew, a nurse and farmer from Randolph, are still in the race – represent a substantial drop from the original crowd of ten potential Sherrill challengers.    Three of them have subsequently switched races:  Thomas Toomey is running in the 6th, Phil Rizzo in the 7th, and Patrick Quinn in the 9th.

If Selen wins, he would become the first Turkish-born congressman.  The grandparents of Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) and former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen were born in Turkey.  A former mayor of Chatham Township, Selen was the first Turkish-born mayor in the nation.

David Pinckney, a public school teacher from Irvington, will get a shot at a rematch with Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) in the 10th district congressional race.   Pinckney was the Republican nominee against Payne in 2016, losing by 154.406 votes, an 86%-12% margin.

Pinckney lost races for the State Assembly in 2011 and 2015, and for Essex County freeholder in a 2013 special election.

Essex Republicans also gave their line to Marcos Arroyo, a housing inspector from West New York who is running for the open 8th district House seat being vacated by Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York).

In the race for Essex County Executive, where popular incumbent Joseph DiVincenzo appears to have a lock on a sixth-term, Republicans are backing Adam Kraemer, a 51-year-old teacher from West Orange.

This will be Kraemer’s 12th run for public office, all unsuccessful.

Kraemer challenged former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) for a State Senate seat in 2021 and lost by 23,195 votes, 65%-35%.   Kraemer carried only Essex Fells in the Essex portion of the 27th district, and won East Hanover, Florham Park, Hanover and Harding in Morris County.

He was the Republican nominee for Essex County freeholder in 2011, 2014, 2017, 2019 (in a special election) and 2020, and for county clerk in 2015 — he won 20.5% against incumbent Christopher Durkin).   Kraemer also lost school board races in West Orange in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

DiVincenzo, probably the most hands-on county executive in New Jersey history, was re-elected with 81% of the vote in 2018, carrying 20 of Essex County’s 22 municipalities.

In 2021, the New Jersey Globe designate him as “The Vaccination King” for his highly-acclaimed program to offer Covid vaccinations to Essex County residents.

DiVincenzo went big.  He took over empty department stores with huge spaces, commandeered health care professionals as volunteers, and even provided entertainment.  When the time came to vaccinate young children, DiVincenzo built out zoo and space-themed spaces to make them feel more comfortable.

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