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MCCANN’S LIBERAL PEDIGREE APPEALS TO WOODCLIFF LAKE MAYOR, BUT ALMOST NO ONE ELSE, IN NJ’S FIFTH CONGESSIONAL DISTRICT CONTEST

By SHIRLEY WITHERSPOON

While former three-term Republican Mayor Steve Lonegan is heating up an electrical fire in the congressional race against Democrat Josh Gottheimer, another GOP candidate, John McCann, is attempting to ignite the first spark of his campaign. A lawyer based out of Bergen County, McCann has thus far been largely unsuccessful in obtaining any traction in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District contest.

His Facebook page has a diminutive presence; to date, he literally has 234 likes. Lonegan’s Facebook page, on the other hand, has over 16,000 likes.

At the last campaign finance reporting, Lonegan had already raised nearly $600,000. It is believed that he will exceed a million dollars by January.

Most reports indicate that McCann has raised little, if any, money to support his fledgling candidacy. His future fundraising prospects seem equally dim. McCann’s champion, embattled Bergen County Republican Organization (“BCRO”) Chairman Paul DiGaetano, was woefully unproductive in raising money for his own state senate race this past June (he was substantially out-funded by his opponent, who easily defeated him). And he had disastrous results in the BCRO’s fundraising attempts for the GOP freeholder candidates this year; they lost, by a large margin, as well. Most inner-circle Republicans ask – “If the BCRO chairman can’t raise money for the Bergen County candidates, or even his own campaign, how is he going to raise money for John McCann?”

While Lonegan has been an ace in obtaining key endorsements, McCann has rung the joker bell. His only endorsements to date: DiGaetano, the Sussex County Sheriff and, as of yesterday, the Mayor of Woodcliff Lake.

Carlos Rendo, a respectable lawyer from North Bergen, gained some recent name recognition when he was selected by New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno to be her own lieutenant governor companion in her recent gubernatorial race. Rendo, however, was badly bruised via that contest: his ticket received just 42% of the statewide vote – and, per the Bergen County Clerk’s official vote totals,  he even lost in his hometown of Woodcliff Lake.

Nonetheless, Rendo has garnered certain liberal-type acolytes, as he presented a center-left platform in his failed lieutenant governor bid. This appears to be a good fit for McCann, who is often mistaken for a Democrat because of his social and economic views, as well as his public Democrat ties. McCann worked, for several years, for the Democrat Bergen County Sheriff; he left that position this fall.

This past Thursday, Rendo stated on his Facebook page, “After a grueling Statewide campaign, I need to spend time with my family and continue to represent the people of Woodcliff Lake. I do believe that our district needs new representation to fight for tax reform, a restructuring of our immigration laws and someone that places an emphasis on helping working families. On Saturday, I will be endorsing the candidate that I believe will best serve our district.” And yesterday, in Woodcliff Lake, Rendo endorsed McCann. It’s unclear in what direction the Rendo/McCann squad believe immigration laws and tax reform should head; however, many fear it is to the left.

Regarding Rendo’s McCann endorsement, Lonegan Campaign Chairman Kenneth Del Vecchio said, “Carlos and I have a few things in common. We are both lawyers who graduated from Temple Law School in Philadelphia. We both received our undergraduate degrees from Rutgers. And we are both originally from Hudson County. I learned all this by reading Wikipedia.” Del Vecchio, who is almost a decade younger than Rendo, is also an acclaimed filmmaker of over 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees, and he is the founder and chairman of one of the world’s largest film festivals, Hoboken International Film Festival. He’s also a best-selling novelist, author of the nation’s best-selling legal books, a frequent legal analyst on Fox News and other networks, and a former judge and prosecutor. So, perhaps, the two men do not have that much in common.

Taking the higher road, Del vecchio added, “The guy was co-chair of Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in New Jersey. That’s pretty impressive.” Del Vecchio was the chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in New York’s 18th Congressional District and Orange County, New York.

“But I’m very disappointed in any Republican’s choice to support John McCann in this congressional race. Steve Lonegan is, by far, the superior candidate. He has true conservative and freedom-minded ideological convictions. He beat a Democrat powerhouse, Cory Booker, by over 2,000 votes in CD 5 in 2013. The NRCC is already supporting Steve, as well as a litany of national and New Jersey Republican leaders. Steve has become a legitimate conservative rock star. McCann is a wilting flower, germinating noxious anti-conservative pollen into the Republican primary. His candidacy is laughable, in every facet. And the few who have decided to support him are, without doubt, going to see a brutal election beating in June,” Del Vecchio predicated, and then delivered one of his favorite declarations about Lonegan, Trump, and himself, “And that’s because we are veteran-protecting, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-life, freedom seeking, sanctuary city eliminating, politically correct smashing, economy boosting capitalists. That’s what the voters want – not plastic, phony politicians.”

To that end, this past week, Lonegan appeared at a sparsely-attended Gottheimer press conference, to deflate the current congressman’s opposition to tax relief for Americans. Notwithstanding the scant onlookers on-hand in the empty-looking room, Gottheimer’s staff sought to stifle Lonegan’s speech and ordered him to leave the press conference; Gottheimer reportedly later said that the event was open to the public and that Lonegan was welcomed. Regardless, Lonegan still was heard, when his Facebook post pertaining to the debacle resulted in 100+ comments and over 300 likes (Lonegan received more likes on this one post than McCann has for his overall Facebook page).

Lonegan stated, “As a candidate, Josh Gottheimer promised that he would cut the tax burden of working New Jerseyans and create jobs. But when given the opportunity, Congressman Gottheimer, who endorsed a governor calling for $1.3 billion in new state taxes, turned his back on New Jersey and voted against the tax reform process…Policy should always come before partisanship. Josh Gottheimer prioritized being a good Democrat over getting something done that will jump start the economy and create jobs. If elected to Congress, no one will ever question my unwavering commitment to bringing tax relief and economic opportunity to working New Jerseyans. The Fifth District deserves better.”

An unabashed constitutionalist who surely is never docile in letting his opinions be known, Lonegan is well aware that Gottheimer – and Democrat powerbrokers nationally – are planning for all out political war against him. The Democrat leadership knows that the Republican party, on a national level, is gunning for this seat and that Lonegan has great strength and popularity in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District. Although Lonegan has stated his confidence in being able to expose Gottheimer as a “true far left, Nancy Pelosi ally with a voting record nearly identical to hers”, he recognizes Gottheimer’s war chest of campaign funds and major Democrat support.

“Unlike John McCann, Josh Gottheimer, albeit his scary socialist brand, is a legitimate political force, with a lot of money,” Del Vecchio said. “We take that seriously. And that’s why we’ve already raised substantial funds, and why Steve, daily, is getting donations from Republicans throughout New Jersey and the nation. It’s why the NRCC provided its Young Guns support for him so early. And it’s why he’s received so many meaningful Republican leaders’ public endorsements already.”

In stark contrast to McCann’s moribund GOP support, Lonegan has netted nearly every major Republican leader’s endorsement in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District. This large group includes: State Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen), State Senator Mike Doherty (R-Warren), State Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex), State Senator Joe Pennacchio from Passaic County, State Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24), State Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Sussex), State Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-23) and State Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-23), Sussex County State Committeewoman Jill Space, Warren County Freeholder Richard D. Gardner, and Warren County Freeholder Edward J. Smith.

Lonegan has also been endorsed by one of America’s most popular GOP leaders, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

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