CD-11 Republicans take advantage of Selen’s absence to shift to the right

The story of tonight’s Republican CD-11 debate was about who wasn’t there.

Tayfun Selen, who appears to be the frontrunner for the party’s nomination after gaining approval from the Republican Morris County committee, was absent.

So does Paul DeGroot, who has the Passaic County endorsement in his pocket.

Toby Anderson, who narrowly missed the second round for Morris’ coveted endorsement, was there.

And he wasn’t happy that his “friends” hadn’t come.

“It is unconscionable to think that a candidate for office would refuse to confront voters in open and public debate, and simply ask the question – what are you hiding,” Anderson said in a statement a few days ago. He specifically mentioned DeGroot and Selen.

The debate was a virtual affair sponsored by the Morristown Area League of Women Voters.

A problem here is the League itself, which some Republicans criticize for its leftist leaning.

However, neither Selen nor DeGroot mentioned this to explain their absence.

Selen said he was preparing to move to Florida where his daughter is about to graduate from the University of Miami. In a statement, he mentioned his support for Republican organizations in Morris County and Essex and said he was the best Republican in the district to take on Mikie Sherrill and what he called the “woke Socialist Democrats tearing apart the American dream. ”

DeGroot said he spends his time “meeting voters and delivering my conservative message to them.”

Both DeGroot and Selen mentioned that the candidates engaged in many debates and forums in the run-up to the Morris GOP’s March convention.

True, but these were GOP-sponsored events, as opposed to a more nonpartisan forum.

Never mind.

Candidates in attendance were the aforementioned Anderson and two candidates who did not seek endorsement from county organizations – Alexander Halter of Denville and Ruth McAndrew of Mendham.

Debate ensued with the candidates present espousing far-right positions.

Anderson complained about “mute Mikie Sherrill” and people living under pandemic “martial law”.

Halter called himself an “ultra-MAGA” candidate. To that end, he railed not only against Democrats, but also against what he called Enabling Republicans.

If there was a general theme it was that we need more border control, more support for veterans and the notion that government involvement in anything is pretty much always wrong and unnecessary, especially when it comes to all aspects of education.

On Roe v. Wade, Halter said he was unabashedly “pro-life”.

Anderson agreed, saying, “I am shamelessly pro-life.”

McAndrew differed slightly. She said she was “pro-life”, but “I can’t tell a person what to do with their body”.

It was an enlightening evening, but one central premise could not be overlooked – of the three candidates present, only Anderson (perhaps) has a chance of winning the Republican nomination.

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Jack L. Goldstein