The most popular Republican in New Jersey is using some of his star power to help Steve Lonegan’s bid for the U.S. Senate. Today, Governor Chris Christie endorsed Lonegan at an event in conservative Hunterdon County.
Lonegan is considered a long shot against Democrat Cory Booker, in part, because Democratic voters outnumber Republicans. The two are among several candidates running for the Senate in a special October 16 election. The winner will complete the term of the late Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.
Despite the Democrats’ registration advantage Chris Christie proves that a Republican can win statewide. The governor told the crowd that it’s time more Republicans got a shot in New Jersey. “We have shown people in New Jersey, over the last four years, what Republican governance can do for New Jersey and when we send Steve Lonegan to Washington D. C. as United States Senator they are going to see what Republicans can do in Washington D. C,” he said.
In New Jersey, Democrats make up 33 percent of registered voters, Republicans have 20 percent, while roughly 48 percent are unaffiliated.
The governor is running for re-election and in recent weeks has been staking out the middle ground on issues ranging from gun control to medical marijuana for children.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin today blasted Christie for endorsing a candidate who, he said, represents the GOP’s right wing.
But Christie made no effort to distance himself from Lonegan. “Steve and I have and still believe in so many of the same things. We believe in lower taxes and limited government. We believe in people having more freedom to do the things they believe are right for themselves.”
The governor went out of his way to say that he and others would work hard to elect Lonegan. “Let me say this. This will not be the only time that Steve Lonegan and I will be together between now and October 16 (election day). We are going to help him raise money. Senator (Jeff) Chiesa is going to help him. Lt Governor (Kim) Guandagno is going to help him. And the apparatus of the Republican Party is going to be behind Steve Lonegan between now and October 16. to bring us to victory. Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind about that.”
The event was held at the Hunterdon County Republican headquarters, a county that went for Lonegan during his campaign against Chris Christie in 2009 for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
This is a big week for Lonegan’s campaign. It is making a concerted effort to ensure that his name is in the headlines.
Tomorrow, Senator Jeff Chiesa, who was appointed by Chris Christie to fill Lautenberg’s seat until this race is decided, is expected to endorse Lonegan tomorrow in Toms River.
On Monday, the campaign said Lorraine Lonegan, wife of the Republican candidate, sent a letter to Oprah Winfrey asking the television host to get to know Steve Lonegan. Oprah last month held a fundraiser for Cory Booker.