By Dari Kotzker
Senate candidate Steve Lonegan set up the campaign event, but his guest of honor rolled in like a Republican rock star. Fans mobbed Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul who endorsed Lonegan at two private fundraisers and a public rally.
“I think Steve Lonegan can be the answer to how we grow the Republican Party. I’m proud to be associated with him,” Paul said.
“Sen. Paul being here is igniting the base even more and we’re rolling on to a victory in October that’s going to be historic for New Jersey,” Lonegan said.
At the podium, Paul immediately took jabs at Cory Booker, but spent most of his speech speaking about federal government spending and his opposition to a war in Syria.
“Cory Booker’s the candidate saying, ‘Well we might get involved or we might not,'” Paul said. “I think you need somebody from New Jersey who will frankly stand up and say, ‘No, we’re not gonna get involved in another quagmire in Middle East.'”
Paul and Gov. Chris Christie both endorsed Lonegan, but have had their own war of words in the past. Paul was asked if there was room for both of their visions in the Republican Party.
“If we can be the party that believes in balanced budgets, low taxes, economic growth, creation of jobs. I think those fiscal issues unite a lot of people and then sometimes the other issues divide us,” Paul said.
Paul took the opportunity to explain to this New Jersey audience why he opposed Sandy aid in Washington.
“It’s not about having disaster relief funds, it’s about being responsible taxpayers and not borrowing from China to rebuild in New Jersey,” Paul said.
And Paul did not disappoint his fan base.
“People in Washington are not respecting the individual liberties of Americans. Rand Paul respects them and Steve Lonegan respect them. So I think it’s very important in this election,” said Michael Minaides of Bridgewater.
Paul also talked about growing the economy and less regulation. He said Lonegan can help with those initiatives.