Ocean County GOP dumps Trump, unanimously endorses Chris Smith for Congress and incumbents

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – The Ocean County GOP screening committee has unanimously endorsed Chris Smith, ignoring former President Donald J. Trump’s call to blacklist the longtime ally of the President. Smith, who voted against all of Trump’s impeachments and for the most part voted in line with the former president, drew “The Donald’s” ire when he voted to pass the Democrat-led bi-partisan infrastructure bill.

“Any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots to run primary campaigns against Representative Chris Smith? You will have my backing,” Trump said of Smith. “Saving America starts by saving the GOP from RINOs, sellouts, and known losers! There is “almost” nobody worse!”

In the time since, many conservatives have turned their backs on Smith, even though he has been a staunch advocate of the Jersey Shore since taking office. Smith was able to overcome the Trump factor this week when both the Ocean County GOP and Monmouth County GOP awarded the party line to the incumbent congressman in the June primary election.

In Ocean County, the steering committee unanimously voted to endorse incumbent county commissioners Jack P. Kelly and Ginny Haines. Sheriff Michael Mastronardy was also endorsed along with Congressman Jeff Van Drew in the second district.

Smith has a slew of opponents itching for a primary challenge including Mike Blasi, David Burg, Mike Crispi, and Tricia Flanagan. The wide pool of candidates who answered Trump’s call will likely cancel each other out, leading to a sure victory for Smith in June.

Last year, Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman said it was time for his organization to move beyond former President Trump. Holman said it was time for Trump to admit defeat and for the GOP to reunite in the future without Trump.

“As we recover from our depression of this week, let us rededicate ourselves to improving our country. Let’s work hard to elect leaders who can unite us. Let’s look to God for guidance. Let us dust off our Abraham Lincoln biography. He led us through our country’s darkest time,” Holman said, a slight towards the President. “Let us work hard at restoring issues, oriented conversations with our families and friends without animus. Let us discourage personality-based arguments. We have the greatest Democracy on earth. We must be able to talk about issues and cast educated votes.”

The Ocean County GOP has banned Shore News Network from its Facebook pages after we uncovered multiple instances of pay-to-play violations, nepotism, cronyism, infighting, and political corruption within the organization, so no members were available to be asked for comment about the selection.

Related: As Pandemic Peaks, County Commissioner Ginny Haines Wants to Know Who Has Biggest Shaft in Ocean County