By Dari Kotzker
For Steve Lonegan, the headline wasn’t the endorsement he was getting today. It was the chance to link Cory Booker to a president Lonegan doesn’t like.
“I have some shocking news for you. Just moments ago, President Obama endorsed Cory Booker for U.S. Senate. I know, we’re all surprised to hear that. But President Obama and Cory Booker don’t understand what local government is,” Lonegan said.
He also had some choice words when comparing Obama’s endorsement to getting Gov. Chris Christie’s yesterday.
“I think it more than levels the playing field. I think Chris Christie’s endorsement in New Jersey is much more important than Barack Obama’s is,” said Lonegan.
But the real reason for the campaign event was to receive endorsements from Republican Congressman Chris Smith and interim U.S. Sen. Jeff Chiesa. Smith was quick to point out Lonegan’s outspoken views on Obamacare, Fourth Amendment rights and as he says “reckless” federal spending.
“He has been a very effective voice for years in pointing out that it is absolutely unsustainable to carry such a debt and to exacerbate it each and every year as President Obama has done,” Smith said.
Chiesa said in front of a cheering crowd, he enthusiastically endorses Lonegan.
“When you listen to Mayor Lonegan talk about this, you watch what Mayor Lonegan did for his community in Bogota as the mayor, he held spending in check. Not because he didn’t want to help people, not because he wasn’t interested in improving people’s lives, but because he understood that the only way to really improve our lives is to make sure that we spend what we have and we spend it smartly,” Chiesa said.
“Sen. Chiesa’s holding down the fort in Washington, D.C. with other great leaders and holding a line against Obamacare and all the other intrusions and growth of government. He’s holding down the fort because reinforcements are on the way,” Lonegan said.
With today’s endorsements and Christie’s, Lonegan says his campaign is on a roll.
“We’re picking up momentum nationally now with the governor’s endorsement, money’s coming in from all over the country, which is terrific. So you’re going to see in the next polls that come out that this race has tightened very, very much,” said Lonegan.
And his supporters agree.
“Mayor Lonegan is not afraid to run against Cory Booker although we know that he’s the favorite of the Democratic Party and the president endorsing him and that doesn’t phase him because he’s going to win,” said Angie Lichsale of Barnegat.
“I like his enthusiasm. I think we need some change in New Jersey. And he’s very enthusiastic. I like a lot of his ideas,” said Jim Romanelli of Manchester.
Lonegan says he’s heard from mayors, council members and grassroots activists who plan to publicly endorse him over the next few weeks.