LAKEWOOD, NJ – New Jersey candidate for Governor Ciattarelli this week visited Lakewood to lobby for that town’s large and highly coveted “bloc vote”. In politics, the Lakewood Orthodox Jewish community often votes as a bloc, but not always, guided by a council of rabbis and business owners in the growing city called “the VAAD”. The Lakewood vote can often make or break a candidate’s campaign and Ciattarelli knows that.
This week, Ciattarelli met with influential community leaders in the town of nearly 100,000 residents and growing. In recent years, the growth of Orthodox Jewish residents in nearby towns of Jackson, Brick, Howell, Manchester and Toms River has also extended the VAAD’s influence beyond the borders of Lakewood and Ciattarelli knows that. This delegation was lead by Yankel Wenger, publisher of the Lakewood Shopper and close ally to Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy. Wenger is the brute force behind the sheriff’s support in Lakewood each election cycle.
According to a story in the Lakewood Scoop, Ciattarelli discussed a range of topics that are important to the growing Orthodox Jewish community in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
“Mr. Ciattarelli said the most important thing he can do is tighten hate crimes laws to keep anti-Semites from carrying out their hateful attacks. Additionally, he noted that education about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism should be increased in public schools,” the Lakewood Scoop reported. “Ciattarelli also said that his administration would make widening Route 9 in Lakewood a top priority, saying he is very aware of the issue, and knows that steps to mitigate the traffic problems are overdue.”
Shore News Network, the state’s largest conservative media platform was not on the reporter invite list.
Nowadays there are several political sub-factions in the community that doesn’t always see eye to eye. In the last election, Lakewood voted overwhelmingly Democrat, helping Phil Murphy to victory in 2017. It is expected that the Lakewood VAAD will endorse Murphy once again in the general election regardless of who the council endorses for the 2021 Republican primary election.
Last year, the community was split between Hirsh Singh and Rik Mehta for U.S. Senate. You can read the full story at the Lakewood Scoop. Photo by the Lakewood Scoop.