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Posts tagged ‘Steve Lonegan’

NJ Republicans Struggle While Christie’s Popularity Soars.

Image: NJ Republicans Struggle While Christie's Popularity Soars

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Opinion polls show New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leading in his race for re-election by a 2-to-1 margin, but his fellow Republicans may not take control of the legislature. And,USA Today reports, the potential 2016 presidential candidate, may not want them to.
Presenting himself as a leader who can work with Democrats in the legislature and as a Republican who can win Blue State voters could give him more political mileage if he runs for president, the newspaper reported Thursday.
Christie is on track to be the first Republican to win more than 50 percent of votes cast in New Jersey since 1985. His popularity may be tied to the fact that he repeatedly stresses the idea of bipartisanship over divisive politics.
“Everything we’ve done has been a bipartisan accomplishment,” the governor says in a television campaign ad. “As long as you stick to your principles, compromise isn’t a dirty word.”
Democrats have been in charge of both chambers of the state legislature since 2003. All 120 seats are up for re-election this year, and Republicans need to pick up five seats in the Senate and nine in the Assembly to take over control.
Some have complained that Christie hasn’t done enough campaigning on behalf of his own party candidates. But redistricting in the state favors Democrats, according to Carl Golden, spokesman for former Republican Gov. Thomas Kean.
“He has not been out there going district to district, at least in those districts that might be considered competitive and there are . . . few of those,” Golden said of Christie. “His absence is notable.”
Also notable is the fact that the Republican governor has been endorsed by several key Democrats and more than 50 Democratic elected officials statewide, which makes Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono‘s campaign against Christie a monumental battle.
Even Democrats running for re-election are quick to point out how they worked with Christie, including Newark Mayor and Senator-Elect Cory Booker, who defeated challenger Steve Lonegan this week in a special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Christie’s decision to hold the Senate special election three weeks before the regularly scheduled state election on Nov. 5 may also have helped put Booker into office, some political observers note.
Had both elections been held on the same day, Lonegan may have gotten extra votes from the Republicans turning out to support Christie.
Should he decide to run for president, having a Democratic-controlled legislature could also be used by Christie as scapegoat for some of his failed initiatives, reports USA Today. For example, he has not been able to push through a proposed cut in income taxes. He has also had difficulty getting his Supreme Court nominees confirmed. But a landslide victory, as predicted with both Republican and Democratic voters supporting his re-election, could help right some of those failures.
Christie has not said whether he plans to run for president. In a recent debate with Buono he said he does not believe “anybody in America, or in the state of New Jersey, expects anybody three years away to tell them what they’re going to do.”
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Critics Say Christie Strategy Sealed Booker Victory.

Image: Critics Say Christie Strategy Sealed Booker Victory

By John Gizzi

Although most pundits believe the easy win by Democrat Cory Booker in the New Jersey special Senate election Wednesday was a foregone conclusion, there’s another theory: Had Republican Gov. Chris Christie handled the situation differently, the outcome might have been quite different.

“Had Gov. Christie appointed a moderate-conservative with a known name — say, [state Senate Republican Leader] Tom Kean Jr. — after [incumbent Frank] Lautenberg died, and then scheduled the Senate race for the same day as the race for governor, Booker might just have been defeated,” a former Republican U.S. House member told Newsmax.

Christie did none of the above.

Following Lautenberg’s death in June, the governor named fellow Republican and state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to serve as senator for four months.

Chiesa would not run for a full term and, in a move that disappointed many fellow Republicans, the governor chose the unusual date of Oct. 16 — a Wednesday — rather than Nov. 5, for the special election.

Had he chosen the latter, the Republican Senate nominee would be on the ticket with Christie the same day of what is shaping up to be his landslide re-election over Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono.

Instead, Republican Steve Lonegan was handily defeated Wednesday by Booker, who won 59 percent of the vote.

Critics of Christie’s strategy sharply contrast his “hands-off” attitude on the race to that of the late Michigan Gov. George Romney when faced with a similar situation in 1966.

While running for re-election that year, the father of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney placed maximum priority on securing a full term for the Republican he had appointed to a Senate vacancy.

Following the death of Democratic Sen. Patrick McNamara on April 30, 1966, Romney appointed Republican Rep. Robert P. Griffin, who already was seeking the Republican Senate nod. Griffin was facing a stiff battle in the fall from former Democratic Gov. G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams.

“The governor started out the canvassing three weeks earlier than in 1964 and worked harder,” wrote pundits Stephen Hess and David Broder in their classic 1967 book “The Republican Establishment.” “He opened a joint headquarters in Detroit, an arrangement previously unheard of in a Romney campaign. On bus placards, billboards, brochures, and television, Romney and Griffin were paired as ‘The Action Team for the Action State.'”

“The governor’s speeches actually seemed to gloss over his own accomplishments in order to dwell at length on the need to elect Griffin,” who Romney called “the ablest man Michigan has sent to the Senate since Arthur Vandenberg.”

Bill Gnodtke, who worked on Griffin’s campaign doing everything from licking stamps to driving the candidate, vividly recalled Romney’s assistance.

“Gov. Romney really went all-out for Bob Griffin,” Gnodtke, who would go on to become finance chairman and treasurer of the Michigan Republican Party, told Newsmax, “He did regional TV spots with him, marched with him at the Labor Day parade in Detroit, and had him on the campaign bus.

“When the governor spoke of a Romney ‘Action Team,’ he meant Bob Griffin, his running-mates for lieutenant governor, state attorney general, and secretary of state, and our legislative candidates,” Gnodtke said.

“Sensational,” is how Romney himself described the November results. In gaining the second-largest gubernatorial majority in Michigan history, he swept all but the largest and smallest of Michigan counties (Wayne and Keweenaw).

As Romney won by 527,047 votes, Griffin defeated Williams by 294,146 votes to become Michigan’s first elected Republican senator in 14 years. The GOP won five contested U.S. House races in the state, took over the state senate, and scored a tie in the state House of Representatives.

With all 120 seats in the New Jersey legislature up for election on Nov. 5, Republicans need net gains of five to take control of the state Senate and nine to win the Assembly. With his eye on the White House, the governor might well consider what a Christie “Action Team” might do for New Jersey and for him.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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Booker Wins US Senate Election in NJ

Christie: DC’s an Alternate Universe

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Booker Wins US Senate Election in NJ.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker won a special election Wednesday to represent New Jersey in the Senate, giving the rising Democratic star a bigger political stage after a race against conservative Steve Lonegan, a former small-town mayor.

With three-quarters of precincts reporting, Booker had almost 56 percent of the vote to Lonegan’s 43 percent. The first reaction from the social media-savvy victor came, of course, on Twitter:


Booker, 44, will become the first black senator from New Jersey and heads to Washington with an unusual political resume. He was raised in suburban Harrington Park as the son of two of the first black IBM executives, and he graduated from Stanford and Yale Law School with a stint in between as a Rhodes Scholar before moving to one of Newark’s toughest neighborhoods with the intent of doing good.


He’s been an unconventional politician, a vegetarian with a Twitter following of 1.4 million — or five times the population of the city he governs.

With dwindling state funding, he has used private fundraising, including a $100 million pledge from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to run programs in Newark, a strategy that has brought his city resources and him both fame and criticism.

Booker was elected to complete the 15 months remaining on the term of Frank Lautenberg, whose death in June at age 89 gave rise to an unusual and abbreviated campaign. If he wants to keep the seat for a full six-year term — and all indications are that he does — Booker will be on the ballot again in November 2014.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican with a national following of his own, appointed his attorney general, Jeffrey Chiesa, to the Senate temporarily and scheduled a special election for a Wednesday just 20 days before Christie himself is on the ballot seeking re-election. Christie said he wanted to give voters a say as soon as legally possible.

Democrats challenged the timing, saying Christie was afraid of appearing on the same ballot as the popular Booker. But courts upheld the governor’s election schedule.

Booker had a running start on the election. Before Lautenberg died, Booker passed up a chance to run against Christie this year, saying he was eyeing Lautenberg’s seat in 2014, in part so he could complete a full term as mayor — something he won’t do now that he’s heading to Washington.

He won an August primary against an experienced Democratic field, including two members of Congress and the speaker of the state Assembly in a campaign that was largely about ideas.

The general election was about deeper contrasts, both ideological and personal.

Lonegan stepped down as New Jersey director of the anti-tax, pro-business Americans for Prosperity to campaign. Lonegan, who is legally blind, got national attention as mayor of the town of Bogota when he tried to get English made its official language.

After two runs in Republican gubernatorial primaries and as the leader of successful campaigns against ballot measures to raise a state sales tax and fund stem-cell research, Lonegan was a favorite of New Jersey’s relatively small right wing.

Gathered with supporters Wednesday evening in Bridgewater, he told supporters, “Unfortunately for whatever reason, the message we delivered together … did not win the day.”

The two candidates portrayed each other as too extreme for the job.

Throughout the campaign, Lonegan was aggressive, criticizing Booker during a string of homicides in Newark, holding a red-carpet event to mock the time Booker spent fundraising in California, and declaring that “New Jersey needs a leader, not a tweeter.”

Lonegan also criticized Booker when a Portland, Ore., stripper revealed a series of not-so-salacious Twitter messages she’d exchanged with Booker, who’s single. The topic resurfaced last week when Lonegan fired a key adviser after a profane interview in which the adviser suggested Booker’s words were “like what a gay guy would say to a stripper.”

Lonegan had called it “strange” that Booker won’t say whether he’s gay. Booker, for his part, has said his sexuality should not matter to voters and has been elusive on the subject.

At a debate this month, Lonegan responded to Booker’s comments about the need for environmental regulations to clean a river through Newark. “You may not be able to swim in that river,” he said. “But it’s probably, I think, because of all the bodies floating around of shooting victims in your city.”

Booker seemed stunned at the remark, and his campaign has criticized Lonegan for it.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Poll: Lonegan Closes In on Booker in NJ Senate Race.

Image: Poll: Lonegan Closes In on Booker in NJ Senate Race

By Melanie Batley

Republican Steve Lonegan has closed to within 6 points of Newark Mayor Cory Booker in the New Jersey Senate race, according to a new poll.

Booker’s once-commanding lead over the former mayor of Bogota is all but gone, internal polling conducted for Lonegan’s campaign shows.

Democrat Booker’s lead has narrowed from 48 percent to 42 percent, according to the results obtained by National Review Online.

“Booker is 37-27 net favorable, a major shift from the 42-18 numbers he held two weeks ago,” says a memo from the pollsters, according to National Review Online. The pollsters noted, however, that the 44-year-old Democrat is “still getting a significant share of the suburban and Republican vote.”

Polls conducted by political campaigns generally are more favorable to their candidates than are independent surveys, according to a review of polling by The New York Times.

A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday found Booker’s lead had narrowed by 3 points since August, standing at 53 percent to 40 percent.

That mirrored a Quinnipiac University poll from last week, which put Booker ahead by 53 percent to 41 percent.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rand Paul, Chris Christie May Share NJ Stage.

Image: Rand Paul, Chris Christie May Share NJ Stage

By Courtney Coren

Sen. Rand Paul may be sharing the stage next week with his ideological rival, Chris Christie, when Paul visits New Jersey to campaign for GOP Senate candidate Steve Lonegan.

Paul is scheduled to appear with Lonegan Sept. 13 in Clark, N.J. Christie also has been invited to take part in the event, but the governor’s camp has not indicated if he will attend, Politico reported.

Lonegan is in an uphill battle against Newark Mayor Cory Booker for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Booker leads by 28 points, according tothe latest poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University.

The election is Oct. 16.

A feud broke out between Paul and Christie in July when the New Jersey governor called the libertarian views of some Republicans “dangerous,” specifically naming Paul, after they voted to reduce funding for the National Security Agency following reports of the NSA data collection scandal.

Paul has called a truce and offered to meet with Christie over beers, but the two have yet to officially put aside their differences.

In addition to the Lonegan fundraiser, Paul and Christie have a chance to mend political fences at a Sept. 23 fundraiser hosted by New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. Both are scheduled to appear, as are other potential candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Despite the feud, Paul recently told Newsmax, he would support Christie if Christie was the nominee.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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