ROXBURY, NJ - Tayfun Selen, aTurkish immigrant who came to America more than two decades ago and started his career pumping gas in Madison, was elected today to serve as a Morris County freeholder.

Selen's selection took place when the Morris County Republican Committee convened for a special election. The convention was called to choose someone for the freeholder board seat formerly held by Roxbury resident Heather Darling. The seat was vacated when Darling was elected as Morris County Surrogate in November.

The victory didn't come without drama. The day started off with five contestants, but the number soon dropped to four when Christian Barranco withdrew his name for consideration. He did so during his acceptance speech after being nominated by Jefferson businessman Jeff Orlando. He asked the members to cast their votes for Selen.

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When the results where counted after the first round of voting, Selen fell one vote short of winning the seat. The voting process and tallies were managed by Morris County Republican Committee Counsel Peter King.

Selen earned 192 votes while former Long Hill Committeeman Bruce Meringolo received 97. Pequannock Councilwoman Melissa Florance-Lynch finished in third with 70 votes, and former Morristown Councilwoman Allison Deeb placed fourth with 25 votes.

Since the by-laws of the Morris County Republican Committee state that a winner must receive 50 percent plus one vote, a run-off was required. In the second election, Selen defeated Meringolo 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.

“This country gave me the opportunity to achieve my dreams, and I learned, in America, you can achieve your dreams as long as you work hard and play by the rules.”