JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Police responded to the Jackson Township VFW Post after a scuffle broke out between Trump-aligned supporters of Mike Crispi and establishment party leaders who are backing incumbent Chris Smith.
Smith, who recently purchased a home in Manchester after the 2022 redistricting, has spent most of his career in office at his family home in Virginia. Smith had not attended a meeting with the local club during the current election cycle, but got his endorsement on the party line for the June primary election is being challenged by Trump-aligned America First candidate Mike Crispi.
Todd Porter, the GOP club president, and avid anti-Trump activist denied Crispi a chance to speak before club membership at the club’s last meeting before June’s primary election. Porter also allegedly tried to prevent Crispi supporters from handing out literature for the candidate.
The divided club took a vote and declared that since Chris Smith was not in attendance, as he is not in New Jersey and rarely visits the Jackson club, an audience should not be granted to Crispi, who showed up to the meeting.
Crispi and his running mates were not involved in the melee that ensued, requiring a police response.
Porter, the club president was previously denounced by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel after offering to blast satanic and Nazi-themed music at public parks to scare away Jewish families. In 2016, as club president, Porter refused to allow the club to join the greater county party decision to fully endorse Donald Trump for President. Instead, Porter cast equal votes for all candidates in that election, despite the club rank and file supporting Trump. Porter claimed the decision was because of the timing of club meetings and the club was not able to officially endorse Trump. He had recently called for Trump supporters to leave the Republican party. Porter works as a code enforcement officer, a patronage job, with the Township of Toms River under Mayor Maurice Hill.
The Jackson Police Department confirmed that at 7:41 pm, officers responded to the Jackson VFW post on Magnolia Drive claiming a man with a stick was threatening members of the club. Upon officers’ arrival, the scene had already calmed down.
Police reported that a man, who was unidentified was upset about not being able to hand out brochures for Crispi at the meeting and became annoyed. Members of the club said the man threatened others with the stick, but officers found this claim to be unfounded as the stick was a cane used to assist the man in walking.
After about twenty minutes, officers left the scene and no charges were filed.
Tzvi Herman, a former school board member who is aligned with Mayor Michael Reina said club President Porter lost control of the meeting and that the split club was unanimous in denying the Trump-aligned candidate an opportunity to speak. Herman leads the charge by the Orthodox Jewish community to take over the Jackson Township Club this June under the direction of Jackson Mayor Michael Reina and said Porter and longtime Jackson business owner Clara Glory need to be removed from office in June.
Herman said Porter and Glory need to be removed from power in Jackson.
Herman is one of the organizers of the effort by the Orthodox Jewish community in town to seize control of the township government by taking over the local Republican club in this year’s county committee election. Herman who won an uncontested election for an expired seat on the Jackson School board was soundly defeated the following year in his re-election bid during the 2021 general election.
Correction: Stated Chris Smith does not live in New Jersey corrected to be more accurate.