JACKSON, NJ – Going into this week, Jackson Councilman Alex Sauickie was the front runner to replace Ron Dancer in the New Jersey Assembly, but rampant GOP infighting and the Jackson GOP’s history of alleged antisemitic actions could doom Sauickie’s bid for the seat at tomorrow’s election.
Republican leaders in Monmouth County became spooked over Sauickie’s involvement in Jackson Township’s past aggressions toward the growing Orthodox Jewish community and that involvement could push votes away from Sauickie Thursday night.
Sauickie is being endorsed by Jackson GOP Chairwoman Clara Glory and Jackson GOP President Todd Porter. Both Porter and Glory were censured by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel several years ago for their antisemitic remarks against Orthodox Jews in Jackson.
Sauickie served as a councilman as the township feverishly fought the Department of Justice, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and Agudath Israel of America as state and federal religious discrimination lawsuits piled up against Jackson.
It is not known what Sauickie’s involvement was in the anti-Orthodox policy that persisted in Jackson in recent years, but today, more facts are coming to light that Sauickie may have been involved in activity counter to the DOJ’s recommendations in the past few years.
The balance of Thursday’s election now appears to be squarely in the hands of Monmouth County GOP Chairman Shawn Golden. Golden holds the key to the winner in a race that is split evenly in Ocean County.
Monmouth County is also home to a large Jewish population who could see Golden’s endorsement of Sauickie as an endorsement of the actions that have unfolded in Jackson Township over the past five years.
The answer is can Golden sway voters 36 hours before an election away from Sauickie, and to who? The choices are former Jackson Township Councilman Scott Martin and Plumsted Pastor Dominic Cuozzo.
Then there’s the issue of the bloody feud between Republicans in Jackson. Many in the county don’t want to take sides in the Hatfield and McCoys feud and are opting for Cuozzo simply as the neutral candidate in the race.
Golden’s support of Sauickie could have long-lasting effects on his own voter base, which has a large percentage of Jewish voters. In the realm of public perception, antisemitism is contagious. You can catch it just by being in a photograph with a branded antisemite. It’s a politically treacherous trail for Golden to trek down at this time. Like others, Golden may opt for the neutral candidate, which could also go a long way to make peace between himself and Ocean County Chairman George Gilmore.