An attorney who sued the big banks for their role in the foreclosure crisis has entered the GOP congressional nomination race in New Jersey’s 11th district.
Larry Friscia has become the seventh Republican to enter the race against two-term Representative Mikie Sherrill (R-Montclair), whose district has become more Democratic under the new congressional redistribution plan approved last month.
“I am running to represent this community because I am from this community,” said Friscia. “I’m not Phil Murphy. The Bill of Rights is not above my pay level.
Friscia runs a Newark law firm based in a storefront in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, specializing in helping individuals survive the economic crisis. He won a $ 5.7 million settlement against Essex County, claiming his clients were subjected to illegal strip searches at the county jail after being arrested for non-criminal offenses.
He said the coronavirus pandemic led to his decision to run for Congress.
“When Covid hit our shores some people woke up,” Friscia said. “Not me, I woke up!”
He is in the process of building a campaign team and has hired Liz Curtis, a campaign compliance consultant, as treasurer.
Friscia told the New Jersey Globe that he will run as a moderate Republican and compete for organizing lines at the Morris GOP convention and on the Essex and Passaic selection committees. But he will stay in the race even if he does not win the support of the party.
“I’m going to run anyway,” he said.
Republicans have yet to find an opponent for Sherrill, a two-term Democrat who overthrew the 11th arrondissement siege in 2018 after 34 years in Republican hands.
Two candidates have already left the race: former Republican National Committee member Tom Toomey decided to challenge House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch) in a Middlesex / Monmouth district, and Realtor Patrick Quinn ran in the 9th District contest against Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-Paterson).
Another candidate, Reverend Phil Rizzo, is considering dropping his challenge to Sherrill and running in the more Republican 7th Arrondissement instead. POLITICO reported on Monday that a lawsuit filed by two former tenants alleged Rizzo had committed fraud when he sold his house to his church without paying a lien they had against him.
Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen, Republican State Committee member Larry Casha, former Passaic County Deputy District Attorney Paul DeGroot, former Ridgefield City Councilor Robert Kovic and screenwriter Hillery Brotschol will compete with Friscia for the nomination.