Morris County Republicans elected Former Chatham Township Mayor Tayfun Selen to fill Heather Darling’s seat on the freeholder board Saturday morning.
Selen defeated Bruce Meringolo in the runoff, beating the former Long Hill committeeman 198 to 171.
“I’m ready to work hard for you, to win elections and grow this party. I am ready to work hard on outreach. I’m ready to be a unifying force,” Selen said. “I’m ready to continue to work hard to help win the election and re-elect our president.”
The tighter-than expected contest came after Selen fell just one vote short of winning Darling’s seat in the first round of voting.
Then, he earned 192 votes. Meringolo got 97. Pequannock councilwoman Melissa Florance-Lynch finished in third with 70 votes, and former Morristown Councilwoman Allison Deeb placed last with 25 votes.
Former Pompton Lakes councilman Christian Barranco dropped his bid for freeholder and endorsed Selen before the first round of voting, though he remained on the ballot.
He received no votes.
Darling vacated her seat on the freeholder board on Jan. 1 to become the new Morris County Surrogate.
Selen, a naturalized citizen, is vice president of administration at Lincoln Technologies.
“This country gave me the opportunity to achieve my dreams,” he said. “And I learned, in America, you can achieve your dreams as long as you work hard and play by the rules.”
Former Madison councilman Rob Catalanello and Parsippany GOP county committeeman Thomas J. DeLorenzo previously announced bids for Darling’s seat but dropped those bids before Saturday’s convention.