Steve Lonegan has really been stepping up his criticism of Governor Christie lately.
Last night (or early this morning), he dropped a press release calling on Governor Christie to withdraw his NJ Supreme Court nominees:
“After careful review and consideration of these nominees, Americans for Prosperity cannot endorse their confirmation to the state’s highest court and will work to see that they are not confirmed by the state Senate,” said AFP state director Steve Lonegan.
“The governor was elected on the promise to change the makeup of the court by replacing activist justices with originalists who will interpret the law, not make law from the bench,” continued Lonegan, “and Americans for Prosperity was fully prepared to support him in achieving this goal.
“However, there is nothing in the backgrounds of either of these nominees to assure us that Mayor Harris or Mr. Kwon will practice judicial restraint and put a stop to this court’s endless usurpations of the powers of the other branches of government if seated on the Supreme Court.”
“Mayor Harris’ résumé is bereft of any experience in dealing with the Supreme Court on any level. His history is in real estate closings. He has never even written a legal brief or argued a case before the court.
“In addition, some very troubling statements made by Mayor Harris have come to light which demonstrate acceptance of prior activist court rulings, as well as a flawed view of the U.S. Constitution, that cast in severe doubt whether he would be an objective jurist.”
“Americans for Prosperity urges the governor to rescind both of these nominees, restart the vetting process and nominate individuals to the court with a proven record of practicing judicial restraint and understanding the limited role of the court in the democratic process.”
Frankly, it’s not the substance of Steve’s critique that interests me, Save Jerseyans. It’s the timing, and it’s leading me to ponder dark thoughts: might Mayor Lonegan consider a 2013 primary challenge to Governor Christie?
Yes, it’d be suicidal. Personal attributes aside, the Guv has money, organization, and a national network that he didn’t have in 2009. His positive numbers among Republicans remain strong; a recent poll put GOP support for his tax cut proposal at almost 80%. Most pundits are privately wondering whether Democrats will be able to mount a successful general election challenge let alone a hypothetical GOP primary opponent!
But then again, when does anything these career activists do make sense?
And Lonegan wouldn’t be the least likely candidate in long-shot primary history. Even after his 2009 loss, he still has built-in name recognition and retains the largest statewide grassroots network of any Republican other than the Governor. He’s always on the radio pitching an event or pushing a cause. He’s also got nothing to lose strictly speaking… except perhaps the support of the Americans for Prosperity national organization?
Back in April 2011, two reputable New Jersey blogs reported (one now offline) that Christie-affiliated surrogates had allegedly implored AFP’s national president to ask Lonegan to keep his anti-Christie rhetoric to a minimum. Who knows what really went down, Save Jerseyans, if anything at all; what I do know is that Lonegan’s AFP-NJ had been reacting very positively to Governor Christie’s agenda until very recently… like the last few weeks recently.
Now all bets are off (again)?
Keep a sharp eye on these developments. Stranger stuff happens every day than a “Christie v. Lonegan” rematch next June.