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Atlis Gym owner Ian Smith. (Photo: Ian Smith).

Ian Smith’s drunk driving charges dismissed

Smith ran for NJ-3 earlier this year but lost in Republican primary

By Joey Fox, October 13 2022 4:28 pm

Drunk driving charges against Ian Smith, a former Republican candidate for New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, have been dismissed, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed. Smith has pleaded guilty, however, for refusing a breathalyzer.

Smith, until recently the owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, was charged with a DUI in March after a Cinnaminson police officer pulled him over for erratic driving. The officer made the determination that Smith was intoxicated based on a field test, but Smith didn’t allow the officer to confirm via a breathalyzer test.

At the time of the incident, Smith was in the midst of a primary battle against fellow Republican Bob Healey Jr. to take on Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown). Having first gained notoriety for his gym’s refusal to obey Gov. Phil Murphy’s pandemic orders, Smith ran as an off-the-line candidate with a hard-right stance on most issues.

But the drunk driving charges, which were especially notable in light of the fact that Smith had killed a teenager while driving under the influence in 2007, stalled his momentum. Smith’s fundraising dried up – he was outspent by Healey 9-1 in the leadup to the primary – and any potential for an endorsement from former President Donald Trump was quashed.

Healey ultimately won the primary 53-38%, and is now locked in a tough general election matchup with Kim.

The dismissal of charges is some vindication for Smith, but it’s far too late for him politically. He left the Republican Party shortly after the primary, becoming a Libertarian instead, and he announced earlier this month that he had sold the gym that first made him famous.

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