Ciattarelli, Murphy battle each other for highly coveted Orthodox Jewish votes in Lakewood

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LAKEWOOD, NJ – Who is going to get the coveted endorsement of the politically influential Lakewood VAAD? The council of the local community that advises members of the large Orthodox Jewish community in and around Lakewood is expected to announce their decision at any time.

It is almost guaranteed that Phil Murphy will get the endorsement again. Murphy visited Lakewood on Tuesday and met with communities in the growing Lakewood-Jackson-Toms River greater community. In 2017, the VAAD endorsed Murphy, giving the Democrat a narrow 49.6% to 48.9% victory in the predominantly pro-Trump Republican town.

In 2020, Lakewood backed Trump with 30,648 votes for the former President compared to just 6,397 for Joe Biden. It was Trump’s largest victory in New Jersey.

Ciattarelli of course is not Donald Trump. Murphy has all but locked up the majority of the vote in Lakewood as his social policies to move New Jersey Forward agenda benefits residents of Lakewood. Murphy has also always been a friend to Lakewood’s Orthodox Jewish Community, who in 2017 called him, ‘a mensch’, a person of integrity and honor.

Earlier this week, Ocean County GOP Chairman made calls to the Republican Party to come out and represent the party to support Ciattarelli and worked with Lakewood’s fringe Republicans who routinely go against the Lakewood VAAD’s recommendations, often failing.

Lead locally by Yankel Wegner, editor of the Lakewood Shopper, the details of Ciattarelli’s schedule were not made available. Wenger did not respond when contacted by Shore News Network today.

Ciattarelli is hoping to win the hearts and minds of Lakewood voters in his visit, but many in attendance will be handpicked by the Ocean County GOP who were invited to attend a town square rally.

The endorsement from the Lakewood VAAD could influence Republican voters in Lakewood, Toms River, Jackson, and Howell to cross party lines and cast a vote for Murphy, which could serve as a nail in the coffin for Ciattarelli’s bid for governor if the VAAD endorses Murphy.