SOUTH AMBOY – Nobody is throwing a parade for Chris Smith.
That was the take this morning of Mike Crispi, a proclaimed “America First ” candidate seeking to oust Smith in next week’s CD-4, Republican primary.
As Crispi spoke over the phone, a parade for him (sort of) was indeed forming at the recently renamed Jon Bon Jovi service area off the Garden State Parkway.
Pick-up trucks with multiple Trump and “Let’s Go Brandon” flags were set to roll, as were two buses covered with Trump paraphernalia. There were Crispi signs too.
Crispi planned to join the parade a bit further south in Monmouth County. A similar caravan was scheduled to make a trip up the Parkway and rendezvous in Stafford Township for a boat parade on Barnegat Bay.
Such spectacles were common in 2020. Crispi said the idea is to bring people together and demonstrate the influence of the “America First,” or MAGA movement.
Crispi says that when he heard Donald Trump criticize Smith’s loyalty to MAGA philosophy, he decided to take on the 42-year incumbent himself.
Longevity in politics certainly can be a detriment. And part of the Crispi message is that Smith has been around too long.
But more than that, his appeal is more basic – Smith is a RINO, that dreaded label for someone deemed not Republican enough.
Emboldened by an appearance last night on the Tucker Carlson Show, Crispi condemns Smith for supporting DACA, which helps immigrant children brought here illegally by their parents, some aspects of gun control and for being one of only a few Republicans to support the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. One of the others was fellow New Jersey Republican Jeff Van Drew.
However, more than issues, Crispi seeks to tap into the Trump mystique – the notion that all is bad and only Trump and those who support him can fix it.
This encourages him, of course, to accept Trump’s views on election fraud.
To that end, a Crispi commercial shows the candidate cheering on the obliteration of a ballot “drop box” and talking about election integrity.
The passion of the Trump brigade is quite visible, but a pertinent question looms. Just how widespread is the movement in New Jersey?
After all, Trump lost the state badly in both 2016 and 2020. A boat parade gets attention and excites participants, but how many voters does it actually convince?
Crispi has pointed out that the newly-redrawn 4th District covering parts of Ocean and Monmouth counties is far more conservative than the rest of New Jersey.
He expects a low turnout, but says, hopefully perhaps, “The people who are inspired to come out … are going to be our people.”
But they probably should not vote in drop boxes.
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Crispi should have done a better job informing nj Republicans that Smith was one of only 13 Republicans
who voted for Biden’s Build Back Better ,BS, Bill. I home he wins.