Home>Articles>Selen fends off DeGroot, Somma for organization line

Morris County Commissioner Jason Sarnoski at the 2023 Morris GOP convention. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Selen fends off DeGroot, Somma for organization line

Selen v. DeGroot contest is rematch of 2022 NJ-11 primary

By Joey Fox, March 04 2023 1:21 pm

Incumbent Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen (R-Chatham) beat former congressional nominee Paul DeGroot and county committeeman Anthony Somma for the Republican organizational line for commissioner at today’s Morris GOP convention, though the result may not be the end for either challenger’s campaign.

Selen received 341 county committee votes, or 62%, while DeGroot received 113 (21%) and Somma got 95 (17%).

“This is a great start for the election cycle,” Selen said after his victory. “feel confident that we’re going to put the work in and win the primary. We’re going to go on to win the general and keep delivering for Morris County’s people.”

Today’s convention marks the second time in as many years that Selen has beaten DeGroot for Morris GOP party support. Last year, the two men ran against each other for the Republican nomination in the 11th congressional district; Selen won the Morris Republican line against former Kinnelon Council President Larry Casha, with DeGroot well behind in fourth place.

But in the primary itself, DeGroot did well off-the-line in Morris County and won Passaic County by a huge margin, narrowly giving him the nomination. After advancing to the general election, DeGroot’s campaign against Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) struggled to catch on, and he lost by 19 points.

DeGroot said he’s undecided about continuing his commissioner campaign without party support, though he’s considered likely to do so. Given his strong off-the-line performance in 2022, Selen’s convention win shouldn’t be considered a guarantee of a victory in this year’s June primary.

“Right now, I’m not making a decision,” DeGroot said. “I’m going to analyze what happened here today, and I will talk to the people who support me and come up with a plan.”

Selen is a former mayor of Chatham Township – a position that made him the first Turkish American mayor in the country – who first won a seat on the Morris County board of commissioners in 2020. DeGroot’s 2022 campaign, meanwhile, was his first time as a candidate; the Montville resident is a former Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor.

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