Christie vs. Lonegan Rematch in 2013?

Steve Lonegan has really been stepping up his criticism of Governor Christie lately.

Dramatically so.

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.


204 thoughts on “Christie vs. Lonegan Rematch in 2013?

  1. The Quinnipiac poll released yesterday indicates that New Jersey voters are not paying attention to the Supreme Court. If Lonegan's gambit raises awareness of the Court and the nominees, he will have done us all a service.

    Unfortunately Lonegan's credibility has been severely damaged by his hucksterism and his attempts to control the Tea Parties. He'll be lucky to get 60 of his "army of 60,000" to show up in Trenton for the nomination hearings.

    To the point of this post, I think Steve's recent move is more of an attempt to regain influence with his former base, and to raise money, than it is a precuser to 2013 primary.

    As to the nominees, they will be approved and we can only pray that they turn out more like Scalia and Alito than Poritz and Venerio.

    For all the good that Christie has done for New Jersey, his legacy will be the Court. These picks are risky.

  2. fast forward to 2013. Christie with be Romney's attorney general and will back Lonegans bid to run for Gov of the State of NJ

  3. "To the point of this post, I think Steve’s recent move is more of an attempt to regain influence with his former base, and to raise money, than it is a precuser to 2013 primary."

    You're probably right, but he wouldn't be the first politician to overestimate his own backing!

  4. Your first prediction is perfectly reasonable. The second? Hell might freeze over before Christie endorses Lonegan for Bogota dogcatcher.

    Someone like Tom Kean, Jr., Joe Kyrillos or the Lt. Governor is much more likely to run in Fall 2013 with the Gov's backing.

  5. enough already with the Keans, Kyrillos's Trenton boys club. Been there done that. Christie is toast after siding with muslim extremists yesterday over Ray Kelly. Candidates will come out of the woodwork to take pot shots at him especially if there is another failed terrorist attack on NY. As for Lonegan he is not the only game in town on the conservative side in NJ

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