Shore Republican leaders to back GOP incumbent Reina for Jackson mayor

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – Jersey Shore area Republican leaders from Congressman Chris Smith on down have signaled their intent to endorse Jackson Township incumbent Mayor Michael Reina. While the local Jackson GOP club leadership nullified the rank and file membership’s floor vote for Reina, citing club by-laws, Robert’s Rule of Law, which governs the private body, allows for such a vote.

Still, club President Todd Porter said he is standing behind his guy, business owner Marty Flemming even as the county slate has unofficially endorsed Reina.

At the county commissioner level, the commissioners are talking behind the scenes about endorsing Reina but want to wait until they have a unified voice in the matter. Commissioner Virginia Haines is the lone holdout.

Haines told Reina and other county officials that she would privately endorse and back Reina, but because of her lifelong friendship with Clara Glory, she will not publicly endorse Reina. Glory is the campaign treasurer of councilman Marty Flemming who is challenging incumbent Republican Reina.

Haines, the RNC chairwoman representing the state of New Jersey, said she would not publicly join her line in endorsing Reina in the non-partisan election in Jackson.

Reina contends the Jackson GOP vote to endorse him was indeed legitimate and that Porter is playing games because he supports Flemming in the election, going against the majority vote made by the club last month.

Haines’ reluctance to buck the party line in Jackson could have consequences. Several fundraisers working on events in the near future have indicated Haines would not be welcome at their events to raise money for Smith, Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy, and State Senator Robert Singer.

While Jackson could be the start of the cure for the fractured GOP, Haines stands in the way of that unity.

GOP Chairman George Gilmore and New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin, both at war with each other have also signaled they will be united behind Reina in Jackson.

At this point, the Ocean County GOP has not officially endorsed either candidate, but a full slate endorsement of Reina is expected later this week. The Jackson Republican Club is scheduled to meet tonight. It is not known whether Porter, the club president or Glory, the municipal chairwoman, would change their endorsement after learning Republican leaders are prepared to move forward without them.

GOP Chairman George Gilmore said yesterday that he is confident that a major endorsement for Reina is coming soon. If that happens, Haines will be the last person standing in the healing of the long-running feud between the two GOP factions in Ocean County.

Other commissioners who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they would endorse Reina; however, out of fear of retribution from Haines and Glory, they will endorse Reina if Haines agrees to publicly endorse the incumbent mayor. Glory has been messaging political insiders saying that if the commissioners endorse Reina, they will pay for their decisions in the future.

Glory and Haines still hold political allegiance to former Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman who did not run for re-election this year, and instead moved to Florida, according to insiders, shortly after former Chairman George Gilmore defeated Sheriff Mastronardy in July.