- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2022

Michael Crispi, a 28-year-old talk show host, plans a Trump-style primary campaign against one of the longest-serving House Republicans from New Jersey. 

Mr. Crispi, a talk show host with the conservative Right Side Broadcasting Network, is set to officially announce his campaign for the Republican nomination for New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District on Monday. The race pits Mr. Crispi against New Jersey’s longest-serving Republican incumbent, 68-year-old Rep. Chris Smith

“We need someone who will lead from the front and embrace the most popular movement in the history of politics — America First,” Mr. Crispi said. “We must continue to drain this swamp and save this country.” 

Mr. Crispi told The Washington Times his campaign will focus on Mr. Smith‘s decades-long tenure in the Washington “swamp.” In particular, Mr. Crispi plans to highlight votes the incumbent has taken that place him out of the GOP mainstream.

Topping that list is Mr. Smith’s vote in favor of President Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and his support for a bipartisan commission to probe the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“He’s been in Congress for over 40 years and is the quintessential self-serving politician that is too entrenched in the establishment,” Mr. Crispi said.

Mr. Smith’s allies say that New Jersey will receive millions of dollars in needed transportation updates because of the infrastructure note. They also note that while Mr. Smith was one of 35 Republicans to back the special Jan. 6 commission, that effort failed to become law because of GOP opposition in the Senate. Mr. Smith voted against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s creation of the Jan. 6 select committee that is currently investigating the incident. 

Advising the campaign is Roger Stone, a top ally of former President Donald Trump. Mr. Stone said the race would very much be fought along the Trumpian lines of “outsider vs. establishment insider.”

“I am confident that Mike Crispi will be able to raise the financial resources to mount a vigorous challenge and provide a stark comparison to swamp creature Chris Smith, who after serving in Washington for 40 years would have trouble finding New Jersey on a map,” said Mr. Stone. 

Mr. Smith, who has served in the House since 1981, announced his campaign for reelection late last year in the newly drawn 4th Congressional District. The longtime New Jersey congressman has taken slack in prior years for having a home in Virginia, though that is not uncommon for Congress members to have a residence in the Washington area. 

Mr. Smith currently owns a home in Hamilton, New Jersey, which lies within his current congressional district. 

Ahead of Mr. Crispi jumping into the race, the House GOP leadership announced its backing of Mr. Smith‘s reelection campaign.

Chris Smith is a bold and effective legislator for the people of New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican. 

Mr. Crispi argues he is not fazed by being seen as an insurgent candidate, especially given Mr. Smith‘s record. 

“We need leaders who are committed to building the Republican Party in this state from the ground up,” he said. “That means being here in New Jersey and putting the work in at the grassroots level. Smith‘s absence is a disgraceful insult to the people.”

Corrections: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported Mr. Smith‘s New Jersey residency status. He owns a home in the state. The article also incorrectly reported Mr. Crispi‘s age. He is 28.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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