OPINION: Ted Cruz commits New Jersey political suicide by Lonegan

By Scott St. Clair | The Save Jersey Blog

How many times over the past few years has Steve Lonegan had his head handed to him by New Jersey voters both in primary and general elections? Whatever the number – try seven times – it’s sufficient to prove that they don’t want him, they don’t like him and whomever he supports won’t get their vote.

It’s apparent, then, that the Ted Cruz campaign has decided not just to write New Jersey off, but to piss New Jersey off by naming Lonegan chair of the Cruz presidential campaign in the state.

Of course, given the blue complexion of the Garden State – and that’s the Republicans – a Cruz candidacy wouldn’t get much traction anyway. But with Lonegan in charge, it’s going to sink like a manhole cover in a lake.

Ted CruzGiven his penchant for fumbling the political football like a rookie with greased hands – how’s that flat-tax proposal working out for you, Steve? – and since whatever Steve Lonegan politically touches he kills, are we seeing a secret death wish on the part of the Cruz campaign?

Breaking his promise — what else is new? — to quit elective politics after he was thumped in last year’s primary for a Republican congressional nomination in the 3rd District. Now, despite the hopeful predictions of many, he’s back. Why? If he’s hoping that a top appointment in a Cruz administration will be his when he pulls a miraculous political rabbit out of his hat, a pandering gambit I’ve seen him unsuccessfully try before (DISCLOSURE: I spent a short time working for Lonegan in 2012), then he might as well buy some Powerball tickets because his odds are better.

Given that Lonegan was on the stump in Iowa with and for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Cruz opponent, back in February, it’s not hard to connect the dots to see a Lonegan switch-of-convenience less for the worthiness of the Cruz cause and more for a grab at what he hopes will be Cruz coattails. That and a unicorn for his birthday.

Or maybe he sees this latest gig as one more way to shove a stick in Gov. Chris Christie’s eye in his never ending vendetta against the governor for humiliating him at the polls? But think what you will about Christie and his probable run for the GOP presidential nomination against Cruz, somehow I don’t think Lonegan’s seething resentment against him causes the gov to lose much, if any, sleep.

Lonegan PresserThere’s also the possibility that Lonegan is in it for the money. Presidential campaigns spend a lot of it, sometimes on the spur of the moment in the hope of capitalizing on an opportunity or an opponent’s mistake. Political consultants are very good at raising those hopes or pointing out those opportunities and raking up whatever spare change might happen to by lying around – for a fee.

Always in the Lonegan shadow is Rick Shaftan, just such a consultant. Even after Lonegan was forced to part ways with Shaftan during the 2013 U.S. Senate run for an out-of-control rant, there he was again lurking about the fringes of Lonegan’s 2014 run for Congress. If you didn’t know better, you’d suspect they were born conjoined twins since when Lonegan runs, it’s Shaftan who strategizes the runWill the Cruz campaign in New Jersey retain Shaftan’s firm, Mountaintop Media, despite his well-documented track record of using divisive campaign tactics and giving profanity-laced interviews? Time will tell, but it’s fair to note that it’s hard to remember a Lonegan campaign where Shaftan wasn’t around – for a fee.

Decades ago, Harold Stassen, who once served as governor of Minnesota, was considered a standing political joke because of his perennial runs for whatever office was available, most notably and frequently, the presidency of the United States. In the beginning, he was taken seriously because he did a few good things, but after that and because he thought more highly of himself than he ought, he didn’t get the message that the voters weren’t interested, so he became a caricature of himself. While in it for nobody but himself, at least he wasn’t a Scotch-swilling, cigar-chomping, snarling Jersey bar brawler-wannabe like his Garden State Mini-Me.

As for Ted Cruz and New Jersey, he’s just committed political suicide by Lonegan.

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30 thoughts on “OPINION: Ted Cruz commits New Jersey political suicide by Lonegan

  1. Once Hillary has to debate anyone on tv, she’s toast. She has the personality of a fire hydrant and the compassion of a rock. Shes hiding now and losing ground. Wait til she opens that mouth and people cringe like fingernails down a chalkboard.

  2. Rand Paul has a marginal chance of winning NJ primaries, and even smaller one of winning the state in the primaries. Ted Cruz has neither. So it’s just Lonegan being Lonegan, trading sanity for political purity.

  3. Cruz winning or being competitive was supposed to be the theme of the “opinion” piece but it struck me more as a petulant character assassination of Steven Lonegan and Rick Shaftan. Save Jersey is supposed to be a conservative blog, this was something akin to what one would find on MSNBC. So to answer your question, way off base because it was emotion driven versus factual.

  4. Someone should ask Scott what campaign he’s ever won. Does he even have a job?

    For the record, I had nothing to do with the 2014 Congressional race.

  5. It will make no difference. Ultimately how Cruz does in NJ will have zero to do with Longegan. All things considered Lonegan did much better than expected against Booker so I think a lot of people are selling him short.

  6. Any candidate that opposed Sandy aid is going to get killed on tv ads in NJ. With the primary not being held until June its unlikely it will have much relevance (although with so many possible candidates in the race, you never know.) Lonegan or no Lonegan, I can’t see Cruz having any chance in NJ if Bush or Walker are still in the race.

  7. Lonegan is very well liked in this state with Conservatives and Independents, the people that yell the loudest about him are the entrenched political establishment that are threatened by him, and who have done everything in their power to NOT help him get elected. He runs with no party support and no party money and does a real good job of being competive with those odds. The GOP in this state has done him dirty.

  8. Christie screwed Lonegan and NJ Republicans when he tried to look oh so bi-party rather than taking the opportunity to appoint a Senator. He handed the position to the Democrats and Booker. By the way, what happened to the big $ given to Newark for education by the big California communists?

  9. The 2013 Senate numbers prove you wrong. In the most hard-hit Sandy towns, Lonegan ran 10-15 points ahead of Romney’s vote share. Take a look at Union Beach or Keansburg. How many Republicans win Keansburg?

  10. I have nothing but positive things to say about Lonegan. Your hate makes you look foolish and no doubt contributes to your continued inability to find work.

  11. “Hillary did fine in the debates when she ran in 2008”

    Against who? Obama? John Edwards? Please… she is bringing much more baggage with her this time.

  12. Obama, Biden (both of them who last time I looked were elected twice), Dodd, Richardson to name a couple of others that I remember. I’d be careful what you wish for. She would make minced meat of someone like Rubio (just like John Edwards did) if/when he shows his lack of knowledge when it comes to foreign policy.

  13. Lonegan is the loudest voice on the conservative side in NJ. Does that mean he should be, or that any serious conservatives want him involved in anything? No, but being the loudest and best-known voice means he’s able to go to any of the candidates (especially Cruz, who helped Steve out with appearances during his Senate run) and make the case that he’s the one with the longest reach among all other available options.

    Of course, anyone with even an iota of knowledge about the situation on the ground in NJ knows Lonegan is an opportunistic hanger-on, desperate for any chance to land a sweet posting which he can then turn into a sweet lobbying gig down the road.

  14. Hooray! CRUZ pissing of NJ is solidifying conservative bona-fides. The good people of this state do not value freedom or the responsibility which comes with it. This is a leftist state, whether you call yourselves conservative or liberal- if you vote for expanding government power beyond those enumerated in our constitutions, you are a leftist.

    Leftists have totally misjudged human character as it pertains to incentives.

    Hey mod, any chance my other comment could get posted? Got EATEN.

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