Steve Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota and long-time conservative activist has become the first to say he is a candidate. He told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider, “I’m formally declaring that I’m running for the U.S. Senate in the primary on August 13 and to win October 16.
Lonegan says he already has dozens of activists on the ground right gathering the necessary signatures for his petition to get on the ballot.
He says Gov. Christie’s decision for a compressed election is a terrific move because the special election will focus solely on the U.S. Senate candidates and not other races.
“[Voters are] not gonna be flanked by gubernatorial candidates, freeholders, assemblymen and state senators,” he said. “They’re gonna have to stand on their own two feet. They can’t count on their party’s machines. ‘It’s gonna be a turnout election, it’s gonna be an election about issues.”
He said he intends to raise as much money or more money than whoever ends up being the Democratic nominee, and he has connections to deep-pocketed individuals like the Koch brothers through his association with Americans for Prosperity, an American conservative political advocacy group. His position with the group has suddenly changed, however.
“I did step down today from Americans for Prosperity to run for office,” he revealed. It’s not a sacrifice he intends to make in vain, saying “I have no option, I don’t intend to be an unemployed loser on August 13.”