Lonegan to Run for Congress in NJ’s Third CD
Republican Steve Lonegan, defeated for a U.S Senate seat by Cory Booker last October, reportedly plans to run for Congress from New Jersey's third congressional district.
Lonegan has not issued a formal announcement but the Star-Ledger and NJTV report that he will make a run for the seat held by Jon Runyan since 2008. Runyan announced in the fall that he will not seek re-election.
As first reported by NJTV's Michael Aron on Twitter, the former Bogota mayor is closing on a home in Lavallette, in the congressional district covering parts of Ocean, Camden and Burlington counties. Lonegan hedged a bit during an interview with Aron, asking rhetorically if the Republican party will commit to running "the best possible candidate" to keep the seat. Aron says Longegan confirmed the run to him after the interview was conducted.
He also confirmed his plans to the Star-Ledger as well, telling the paper, “I have the hottest donor list in the country. My name ID there is over 90 percent. I have a terrific campaign team that’s ready to rock, is experienced and seasoned. I have coordinators in every town in the district, in every church and synagogue.”
After a failed run against Cory Booker (D) in New Jersey's special U.S. Senate election to replace the late Frank Lautenberg (D), Lonegan said he was going to return to the private sector. But after Runyan announced he would not run for a third term, Lonegan's name immediately came up as a possible candidate.
Earlier this week Lonegan announced a fundraiser on his Facebook page, still titled "Steve Lonegan for U.S. Senate" with Governor Chris Christie, GOP National Committeeman Bill Palatucci in Mountain Lakes on January 16.
Lonegan did well in New Jersey's southern counties against Booker, winning Ocean County by a wide margin, 64-34%. He also won Cape May County 58-40%, Monmouth County 54-45% and Salem County 58-40%. He was edged out by Booker in Gloucester County by a single percentage point and by two points in Atlantic County while winning Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties.
Attorney and Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard has already announced she will run as a Democrat for the seat held previously by the late Jon Adler (D) whose wife lost to Runyan in the 2012 election.
Some Burlington County Republicans are not happy Lonegan has announced. County GOP Chairman Bill Layton told the Star-Ledger, “We have a process and no one’s been ruled out yet. . . So he’s basically slapping all of us in the face and doing what he always does: Running against the party."