Morris GOP’s Friday night convention ends in indecision

It wasn’t something you see every day, Save Jerseyans.

Of the three big races on tap at last night’s Morris County GOP Convention, only the commissioner contest was settled at the end of a long evening (with Mendham Township Committeewoman Sarah Niebart upsetting long-time incumbent Tom Mastrangelo for the official party nod).

It’s still being worked out exactly what happened, but there’s little doubt that it wasn’t the night Morris GOP leaders were hoping to have.

Some attendees cited “machine issues.” Others said the night simply got started too late to accomodate the number of candidate speeches and crush of participating voters. Whatever the reason, the convention adjourned hours after getting underway without holding a second ballot for either the NJ-07 or NJ-11 nominating contests. An attorney for the campaign of former gubernatorial candidate Phil Rizzo took to Twitter to allege voter “discrepancies.”

Tensions were predictably running high given the late hour and the indecisive results.

Tom Kean Jr. and newcomer John Isemann finished within 12-votes of one another (48-36) forcing a runoff. Assemblyman Erik Peterson and Rizzo combined for another 27 votes. The million dollar question is where those voters go now; Isemann needs 17 of the 27 remaining votes to pull off a massive upset over the senior statesman Kean who already has the Hunterdon nod.

Over in NJ-11, Morris Commissioner Tayfun Selen and ex-Kinnelon Council President Larry Casha are also headed to a runoff after the first ballot; Selen is out in front with a 169-118 edge. There are almost 200 votes on the board after the other hopefuls fell short.

A second ballot for the congressional races could take place as early as next week giving the four finalists some precious hours to cut deals, make appeals and do what they can to reshuffle the deck before the committees reconvene.

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.