A new Quinnipiac poll has found Steve Lonegan and Cory Booker are frontrunners in the Republican and Democratic primaries, respectively. Lonegan told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he will continue to work hard to prove to voters that he can win the general election, no matter what Democratic opponent he faces.
Lonegan said he works hard right up until the polls close. “We want to show our voters mainly that we care about their endorsement. I’m confident in the primary and I’m confident after the primary the entire Republican Party including my opponent Dr. [Alieta] Eck’s supporters and Dr. Eck will be behind the winning ticket,” Lonegan said.
Lonegan pointed out that he was mayor of Bogota, a Democratic town, for 12 years. He said Bogota is “a 2-1 Democratic town that voted for Al Gore, Jim McGreevey, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menedez, Bill Clinton and 67 percent for Barack Obama. And I won and kept Republican control for 11 years in a row,” he said.
According to Lonegan, his campaign exploded out of nowhere, starting as a small operation out of his basement. “We have now moved it into our official rather substantial campaign headquarters in Middlesex County,” he said. “We’ve grown very, very quickly. We have a terrific staff. I’ve raised a significant amount of money, which we’ll report shortly, and we have a real campaign.”
There has been talk that Gov. Chris Christie will campaign with Lonegan to help him get elected, but Lonegan said he hasn’t been in touch with the governor. “I want to get organized, I want to prove our viability. It’s my race to win. I have to send signals to the Republican Party and to the people of New Jersey and the media that this is a real and viable race, and it certainly is. And that I think came through in some poll numbers that came out today,” he said.
The Quinnipiac poll showed Lonegan within the margin of error against Frank Pallone and Rush Holt and leading Sheila Oliver. Against Booker, Lonegan was behind by 20 points, but he said he is pleased with the figures. “In a Republican to Democratic race in three out of four I’m either tied or winning, which is very significant in what’s supposed to be a hopelessly blue state,” he said.
Lonegan said he believes Cory Booker is nothing but a name and people don’t know his agenda. “When I get done exposing his left wing liberal record, his failed record as the mayor of Newark and his ridiculous proposals to expand the welfare state, Cory Booker’s numbers will plunge and, Mike, by Labor Day this is gonna be a neck in neck race and the whole country’s gonna watch this race,” he said.
According to Lonegan, Booker has proposed more welfare programs, which have destroyed Newark. “It’s these programs he’s expanding that have undermined Newark’s culture,” Lonegan said.
The Republican candidate doesn’t believe Booker has done a good job running Newark. “When Cory Booker became mayor, unemployment in Newark was 8 percent. Now it’s 14 percent. When Cory Booker became mayor, he had an expensive school system. Now he runs the most expensive school system in the United States of America with a phenomenally ridiculous dropout rate. Violent crime is up in Newark,” Lonegan said.
Even though Newark’s school system is run by the state, Lonegan said the mayor should have done more. “Cory Booker’s the mayor. You need to take charge. When you’re in office for seven years, you’re in charge. How come he hasn’t been able to take back control of the school system? Why is it still controlled by the state? Because he just can’t do the job,” Lonegan said. “Cory Booker cannot get reelected mayor of Newark. That’s why he’s trying to get out of there as fast as possible.”