Former North Jersey Mayor Steven Lonegan is throwing his hat in the ring for the Third District congressional seat, however the Tea Party Republican faces numerous challenges ahead.

Steve Lonegan (Lonegan campaign)

During the announcement of his campaign on Thursday in Toms River, no major members of the Ocean County Republican leadership were in attendance. Though there was a turnout of about 75 people at the Toms River Hotel, only Medford Councilman James Pace and Lavallette Mayor Walter LaCicero spoke on Lonegan's behalf.

The former Bogota mayor and one time gubernatorial and US Senate hopeful was confident in his campaign, noting he had raised substantial money, had a campaign structure, and carried "name appeal".

However, Lonegan said if he did not receive support from county GOP leadership, he would not continue his campaign.

"I like to the whole party organized. It's a competitive race, I think we have to have everyone together."

Lonegan has received criticism for his recent move to Lavallette, something he did only to qualify for the third district nomination. However, the former North Jersey mayor says politics had nothing to do with it.

"It's about the quality of life for me, because I love to fish," Lonegan said. "The kids are out of the house so we're downsizing. My taxes just went from $18,000 to $4,800, so there's a good reason right there."

Lonegan famously said he was exiting politics after his loss to Booker in the Senate race, however he noted his departure was just to focus on his business.

"I said I wanted to go to the private sector," Lonegan said. "Sometimes things change and opportunities come up in front of you that are unexpected."