Texas Gov. Rick Perry Campaigns with U.S. Senate Candidate Steve Lonegan

By David Cruz
NJ Today

Texas Gov. Rick Perry got a rousing reception from a proudly conservative crowd in Smithville. Perry is the latest national Republican to stump for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who was energized by what he said were poll numbers trending his way.

“National Review article about half an hour ago — how about this is a six point race,” Lonegan said.

No matter that the National Review was actually quoting Lonegan’s own internal poll, both Lonegan and Perry were touting this as a close race. Today, the first day of the federal government shutdown, both took aim at the Obama administration, saying the president’s refusal to compromise was at the root of the shutdown.

“The president will negotiate with the president of Iran; he will negotiate with other people so why not sit down with the House and the Senate and find a solution so that we go forward?” asked Perry.

“My Hollywood stand-in for Barack Obama will compromise on the Constitution, they will compromise on the Bill of Rights, but they will not compromise on how much of your money they want to spend every single day,” Lonegan said.

The joint appearance had a bit of a shotgun feel to it. Perry, considering another run for president, refused to discuss Lonegan’s opponent — Newark Mayor Cory Booker — and for a while had Lonegan literally in the shadows, while he fielded questions.

When asked if he had any thoughts about Booker, Perry said, “I don’t. I’m here to support Steve and his views and policies to get Washington back working together. I think a rubber stamp for Barack Obama is not necessarily what, not only New Jersey does not need but America doesn’t need.”

But for a campaign that wasn’t given much of a shot, the fact that the latest Monmouth University poll has Lonegan trailing Booker by only 13 points comes as a bit of a surprise to many observers, but not to Lonegan.

The big news out of the campaign today is that the Lonegans will soon become grandparents. The Republican said that’s a big motivator for him now. Better to fight for our values today, he said, then to have to fight for them in 20 years.