By TEMPLE LI
A man of many talents – and adjectives to describe him – former New Jersey governor candidate Steve Lonegan may have been the Republicans’ best hope to keep the Garden State’s gubernatorial seat this year. Proponents of Lonegan, who ran in the 2009 and 2005 primaries, find that he is of superior intelligence, with great government and political knowledge. Never one to say what is politically expedient, Lonegan is the strongest in his convictions and unwavering to protect the conservative platform and the U.S. Constitution. He’s a brutally honest man, many say.
Others say that Lonegan is simply brutal. And that he’s stubborn, a person unwilling to see the softer side of things. A politically incorrect leader at the earliest stages of politically incorrect behavior, detractors have argued, for years, that he is not mainstream enough to win a high level political office.
“That’s just a bunch of crap” said Kenneth Del Vecchio, an acclaimed filmmaker of over 30 Hollywood movies and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, who was the statewide chairman of Lonegan’s governor campaigns. “Steve tells it like it is. He was way ahead of the curve on nearly every economic and social issue. He literally doesn’t care, at all, what a load of ultra-liberal mental midgets in politics and the media think. And why should he? Their opinions aren’t rooted in any facts. They don’t speak for the masses of voters. Lonegan gets this, and he’s not afraid to call out these bubbleheads. People like this, and that means that he resonates with the masses of the voters.” Del Vecchio, who’s also a former New Jersey judge and the author of some of the United States’s best-selling legal books, was the first Congress candidate in the country to endorse Donald Trump and served as the Orange County and New York congressional district 18 chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign.
Who once constituted the masses of voters may not today be the same thing. This might lead to statewide victory for Lonegan which, to this point, has been elusive.
Lonegan, a former multi-term mayor of the Bergen County town Bogota, surprised political observers when he garnered over 45% of the vote against a then-very popular Chris Christie in the 2009 GOP primary. In 2013, his political surprise elevated to shock when he posted a nearly identical vote total against a heavily favored Democrat Corey Booker in a New Jersey U.S. Senate contest.
To most onlookers, Lonegan climbed mountains in those races. And he climbed them with great strength and speed. The largely blue state of New Jersey seemed to come dangerously close to electing a very conservative and controversial Lonegan to the highest of elected posts.
This concerned foes, who complain about Lonegan’s agitating approach to sensitive issues such as immigration and racial tensions. In 2009, on Martin Luther King Day, Lonegan staged a protest against affirmative action in the largely African American city of Newark – right on Martin Luther King Boulevard. Before that, Lonegan advocated that English should be the official language of the Borough of Bogota after he and numerous residents were annoyed by a McDonald’s billboard that was written in Spanish.
While liberals were troubled by Lonegan’s conduct, he was quickly becoming a folk hero in conservative circles and not just in New Jersey, but across the nation. As far back as the mid-2000s, he was a prized speaker at CPAC. As each year progresses, he more and more is sought after by Republican campaigns, of all sizes and in all geographic areas, for his endorsement and support. Today, Lonegan is pretty much a rock star, who the younger, more Libertarian-minded Republicans respect for his longstanding brash, but honest and intellectual, approach.
The mountains, he keeps climbing. And not just figuratively.
Only 18 months ago, Lonegan, at 59-years-old, climbed one the world’s most formidable and steepest mountains, Mount Kilimanjaro. The highest mountain in Africa, it is located in Tanzania, and is the holder of three dormant volcanos. Lonegan, joined by a crew of 12 people, endured the most volatile of weather and dangerous climbing conditions, to ascend this historic geographic site.
This accomplishment is impressive for a 20-something, trained mountain climber. For a man who has no formal training in this area, it is an aberrational feat.
“I wasn’t surprised when I heard this. Steve’s a great athlete,” Del Vecchio said, referring to Lonegan’s prowess as a collegiate football player and record-breaking high school track star. “When Steve puts his mind to something, he gets things done. He will be governor of New Jersey at some point.”
Lonegan is not part of the gubernatorial battle in New Jersey this year. The 2017 race will see current Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno as the GOP candidate against Democrat newcomer (and billionaire) Phil Murphy. The latter, although facing some recognizable names in the Democrat primary, was basically welcomed through a coronation and easily sailed to victory in getting his party’s nomination; Murphy was challenged by state senator Raymond Lesniak, former U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury Jim Johnson, and state assemblyman John Wisniewski.
Guadagno also handily defeated her opponents in the Republican primary, besting the likes of state assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and businessman Hirsh Singh. The lieutenant governor, however, has a tough, near-impossible path to victory in a 2017 election given her super close relationship with the embattled current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Overcoming his mammoth hurdle is an incredibly difficult task for any Republican, and is the setting for a doomed result for one who has served as his second-in-charge.
The year of 2021 is much more hopeful for a GOP candidate, especially after the state will surely see a socialist-style governorship from the mega-liberal Murphy. This likely could be the year for a Lonegan victory.
Del Vecchio, a frequent legal and political analyst on Fox News Channel and other networks, as well as for Empire State News, predicted, “Upon being forced to foot the bill during the next four years, for every undocumented alien, heroin addict, and lazy Obamamite who sucks off the hardworking taxpayers, New Jersey voters will realize that they need someone to protect them. They will realize that they need a man like Steve at the state’s helm. And the reality is, there is almost no one like Steve Lonegan.”
Isn’t that the truth.
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