NJ-3 GOP candidate Ian Smith charged with DUI

A Republican congressional candidate in New Jersey’s 3rd District was arrested for driving under the influence early Sunday morning after refusing to take a breathalyzer test.

Ian A. Smith, the owner of Atlis Gym and a vocal critic of Gov. Phil Murphy, is running for the GOP nod to face Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in the fall.

Cinnaminson Police Officer Harry Cicale issued six summonses to Smith, including the careless and reckless driving spell stopping the Republican House candidate on Route 130 North near Andover Road.

A campaign spokesman, Steve Kush, said Smith’s truck swerved in high winds and passed a field sobriety test.

“The cop wasn’t happy and put handcuffs on him,” Kush said. “Ian will have his day in court. Everyone will find out that Ian was not drunk while driving.

Smith is scheduled to appear in Cinnaminson City Court on April 14.

Kush said Smith refused the breathalyzer test out of fear that Cicale, a former standout baseball player at Cinnaminson High School, would try to frame him.

“Ian doesn’t have much faith in the government after the persecution he has suffered from the governor over the past two years,” Kush said.

Smith drew national attention for refusing to follow Murphy’s business closures and mask mandates during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the public face of opposition to Murphy’s mandate to close centers fitness in March 2020, reopening his business in May 2020 in defiance of the state before Health Department officials shut it down.

He has become politically active, calling Murphy a “mudball” and building a social media presence around his opposition to the governor’s handling of COVID-19.

Later, Smith’s gym offered free memberships to people who refused to get vaccinated.

But the long wait — and Smith’s guilty plea to vehicular homicide nearly fifteen years ago — could jeopardize Smith’s lead bid against the candidate backed by Republican organizations in Burlington, Mercer and Monmouth counties. , businessman Robert Healy, Jr.

When he was 20, Smith was responsible for a car accident that killed 19-year-old Kevin Ade of Galloway. Smith drove through a stop sign and slammed the driver’s side door of Ade’s car, turning it sideways and pushing it until the vehicle hit a tree. Ade was pronounced dead at the scene.

Since his release from prison, Smith has accepted responsibility for Ade’s death.

“I would trust Ian Smith to drive my mum to a doctor’s appointment,” Kush said.

Smith will be represented by attorney Christopher St. John, a former assistant attorney general, assistant attorney for Camden County and captain of the U.S. Army’s JAG Corps.

The congressional redistricting removed the Republican stronghold of Ocean County from the 3rd District, replacing it with more Burlington, Hamilton, Lawrence, East Windsor and Robbinsville in Mercer, and part of western Monmouth County.

Healey, owner of a yacht manufacturing company and who fronted a punk rock band as a young adult, is already in the running. Healey has raised over $500,000 in the last two months of 2021.

The charges against Smith were first reported by the South Jersey Times.