Newark Mayor Cory Booker sailed to victory in the Democratic primary last week, which surprised no one though about four people voted and that's always a bit sad so now he is on to the general which will be on October 16, 2013.
So who is his GOP opponent? So glad you asked! I feel like I pick on the midwest and south, what with their Steve Kings, Michele Bachmanns, Rick Perrys, EW Jacksons... well, they have a lot of crazy. The north has some crazy, too. New Jersey's brand of crazy comes in the form of Steve Lonegan, who has received a tepid endorsement from Governor Chris Christie (he had been putting as much distance between himself and Lonegan as possible until this past weekend when he appeared in what will most likely be his ONLY campaign appearance with the Senate candidate).
From Mother Jones:
Here are six of the wackiest—and cruelest—comments that Lonegan has made over the years:
1. "I have a handicap, you know. I am a white guy running in the state of New Jersey."
On August 8, Lonegan's campaign tweeted: "Just leaked - Cory Booker's foreign policy debate prep notes." Accompanying the message was a picture of a map of Newark, but with areas of the city labeled as countries in Africa, South America, and the Middle East. The campaign quickly deleted the tweet after Booker and others called it racist and "deplorable." Here's a screenshot:
At a press conference, Lonegan, who said he didn't approve of the tweet, nonetheless called the criticism "silly nonsense." He went on to say, "I have a handicap, you know. I am a white guy running in the state of New Jersey. That is my handicap."
2. "I'd hate to see you get cancer, but that's your problem, not mine."
While at the helm of AFP-NJ, Lonegan chided Gov. Chris Christie for not moving fast enough to reject Obamacare like conservative governors in other states. As a candidate, Lonegan made it clear that he wanted government out of the health care business in any way, shape, or form.
This is what he said at a debate on Obamacare in July 2011:
I'll be as callous and uncaring as you can imagine. I have no interest in paying for your health care. I'd hate to see you get cancer, but that's your problem, not mine. I'm going to pay for my health care, I'm going to take care of my children's health care and tend to my wife. And when I stand for charity care (inaudible), you [and] no one else has the authority to infringe on my right (inaudible) dig into my pocket and my ability to pay for your health care or anybody else's.
3. On Romney's 47 percent comment: "It was the boldest thing he said in the campaign."
During a September 2012 appearance on the show New Jersey Today With Mike Schneider, Lonegan was asked about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's 47 percent comment. "Well, I think it's the boldest thing he said in the campaign," Lonegan answered. "The problem is he didn't back it up. Now, 47 percent, I don't think, is the real number. I think it's a much smaller number than that."
4. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and "the biggest single threat facing America today."
Lonegan does not like Social Security. In October 2011, he lamented that Texas Gov. Rick Perry "didn't stick to his guns" when he called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. He later added during that same interview that Social Security "was the biggest single threat facing America today. More than half of the federal government is Social Security and Medicare, and it’s going to bankrupt this country."
When he was mayor of Bogota, Lonegan called for boycotting McDonald's because the company put up a Spanish-language billboard promoting a new iced-coffee drink. Lonegan had no problem with iced coffee—he was angry that McDonald's used Spanish. According to the Bergen Record, Lonegan wrote a letter on borough letterhead to McDonald's saying the billboard was "divisive" and "unfair" because it suggested that immigrants and those who spoke Spanish didn't need to learn English.
6. Don't feel sorry for Hurricane Sandy victims because "every day, around this country, somewhere, somebody is suffering a tragedy of equal or worse impact and we don't run and hand them a check."
While Christie was running around New Jersey in his monogrammed fleece consoling Sandy victims, Lonegan was far from sympathetic. "That is tragic for them to see their home being destroyed," he said, "but remember that every day around this country, somewhere, somebody is suffering a tragedy of equal or worse impact and we don’t run and hand them a check."
Bonus: Lonegan was caught on camera flipping off the Republic Report's Lee Fang during a tea party rally. Watch:
Now, it wouldn't be fair to Lonegan to only look to Mother Jones for his wacky comments. American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive research and communications firm compiled these gems:
LONEGAN ON MEDICARE AND MEDICAID
Video: Lonegan Said Medicare and Medicaid Needed To Be Privatized. During a tea party meeting, Lonegan said, “I didn’t hear Mark Levin’s ideas about Medicare and Medicaid but I think they are destined for destruction for the next generation. I think they should be redone away with and privatized. That’s what I think.” [Mahwah Tea Party Steve Lonegan Part 3, 11/20/10]
LONEGAN ON TAXES
Video: Lonegan Vowed To Return To A Flat Tax. During his speech to CPAC, Lonegan said: “We are going to eliminate the destructiveness and immorality of the progressive income tax and replace it with a flat tax.” [CPAC 2009}
Video: Lonegan Said “Now People Are Going To Say Doesn’t This [Flat Tax] Mean A Tax Increase On The Poor? Yes It Does.” (emphasis mine) During a press conference Lonegan said: “But I want to focus today on tax policy and bring economic prosperity back to New Jersey. Now people are going to say, doesn’t this mean a tax increase on the poor? Yes it does.” [Steve Lonegan For Governor Campaign Press Conference PT 2, 02/19/09]
Now, personally, I don't want to see someone with Lonegan's views in the US Senate. In addition to the compassion he showed in the above statements, he opposes ALL abortion even in the cases of rape, incest or where the life/health of the mother is at stake. His views on guns are ridiculous, he doesn't believe in climate change and considered Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) a viable option for president:
Explaining his absence from today's Doherty-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX.) endorsement rally, the movement conservative leader said he has narrowed his presidential choices down to Paul and U.S. Rep. Michele Bahmann (R-MN.). Read more here.
Of course the things that disqualify Lonegan to me, make him very attractive to some Republicans. You can check out how the National Review views both NJ Senate candidates here.
This is just a reminder that while many (and I am in this group) are already on to 2016, we have both 2013 and 2014 to get through and those elections do matter.