TOMS RIVER-Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman, III is facing his latest challenge as a leader of the local Republican party this week as he continues to dodge action against two key allies in Jackson who have come under criticism for anti-Semitic remarks made on social media. Last week, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, New Jersey State GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt and New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer denounced comments made by the leadership of the Jackson Township Regular Republican Club.
So far, Holman has remained silent, angering the base that propelled him into office. Holman had overwhelming support from the Orthodox Jewish members of the Ocean County Republican Committee in Lakewood, Toms River and Jackson Township. Today, many of those who supported Holman are having second thoughts after his refusal to address their concerns of anti-Semitism in Holman’s Jackson GOP club.
Holman is hoping to meet this week with Rabbi Aaron Kotler who is returning from an overseas trip, according to a GOP insider.
Holman’s refusal to take action against Jackson Township GOP Club President Todd Porter and Jackson Township Republican County Committee Chairwoman Clara Glory, both political allies of Holman could bring unnecessary trouble for Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Vicari in November who is up for re-election.
Porter and Clara were reported to have made anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook regarding the growth of the Orthodox Jewish community in Jackson. Porter offered to drive through Jackson Township parks blasting “death metal” and Slayer in township parks to scare Jewish families out. Glory is under fire after supporting comments made on Facebook claiming Jews are criminals and should be deported.
The remarks were published days before a hate-driven attack on a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City that left six dead, including a police officer, two Orthodox Jews, a cashier and the two assailants.
Holman’s refusal to publicly address the issue as most other GOP leaders has put him and his county organization at odds with the large Jewish community that now spans over three towns in the county. This is not the first time Jackson Township GOP has faced claims of anti-Semitism. The party has been plagued with resignations over insensitive remarks made by elected officials, planning board members, zoning board members, and club officials.
Two weeks ago, the President of the Jackson Township Municipal Council Robert Nixon resigned amid a federal bias lawsuit against him and the township claiming the town has been crafting ordinances that unfairly targeted the growing Jewish community.
As the FBI investigation into the Jersey City Shooting, the agency made an arrest of a possible Monmouth County gun supplier connected to the shooters, bringing the event much closer to home here in Ocean County.
Several planning board and zoning board members from the Jackson GOP club have also resigned from their posts after allegations of anti-Semitism and bias were brought forth.
Holman continues to stick his head in the sand and ignores the growing trend within his own party in Jackson and that inaction could have consequences not only for himself but for the party in the November elections. The municipal council majority is up for grabs in Jackson Township in 2020 and some have suggested that the Orthodox bloc vote in Northern Ocean County could drop support for the Ocean County GOP’s freeholder candidate Joseph Vicari. Holman is in a no-win situation. If he bargains with the Orthodox community of the party, he could come under attack from groups such as Jackson Strong and Rise Up Ocean County who could brand him as a ‘sellout’.
If he sides with Glory and Porter, who were influential aides who rallied the county committee vote for Holman during his chairman’s election this past spring, he could anger a much larger voter base that could inflict damage in November. A settlement is unlikely at this point. Holman is a “Jackson Native”, according to the club.
Republican leaders have come out in opposition to the comments made by Porter and Glory.
Two days after attending Holman’s Ocean County GOP victory dinner in Seaside Park, New Jersey GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt issued a condemnation of the Jackson leadership’s comments.
“We condemn hateful rhetoric in the strongest possible terms. There is no place for anti-Semitism in our party,” said a joint statement by Steinhardt, McDaniel and Singer.
“As an Indian American, I understand firsthand the stupidity of bigotry, hate, and racism. Anti-Semitism is all 3 and it has no place in the Republican Party or America. I stand by our RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt, and New Jersey Senator Robert Singer,” said Hirsh Singh who is the Republican candidate for Senate in 2020 against Democrat Cory Booker. “It must be condemned and stopped. We cannot ignore hate or anti-Semitism and allow it to breed here in New Jersey, one of the most diverse racially and culturally states in America. That is why I am proud to be a member of the party that represents religious and racial equality and freedom for all, the Republican Party.”
We reached out to Ocean County GOP Executive Director Tom Bonfonti who has yet to respond.