HACKENSACK, N.J. — Whether Steve Lonegan called a councilman a “fundamentalist faggot piece of shit” twelve years ago is suddenly a much-discussed topic with about seven weeks left to go before Primary Day.
Over the weekend, Bergen County Republican Organization freeholder candidate Eric Kulmala became the latest Bergen-based Republican to publicly upbraid Lonegan, one of two candidates for the 5th Congressional District Republican nomination, over the comments allegedly made by Lonegan and directed at former Bogota Councilman George Silos during a 2006 Bogota council meeting.
“Lonegan’s running mates for Senate, County Executive, and Freeholders must denounce Lonegan’s antichristian and anti LGBT slur or be tainted by their support for someone who has no place in elected office,” Kulmala opined in a statement obtained by Save Jersey.
The former Bogota Mayor’s opponents insist history will repeat itself if Lonegan is the nominee. Fellow Bergen freeholder candidate Hector Olmo echoed Kulmala, recalling former NJ-05 Congressman Scott Garrett’s alleged refusal to support gay Republican candidates which damaged his 2016 reelection campaign.
“We all saw what the Democrats did to former Scott Garret costing us seats all the way down the ticket to the local municipal elections. The leaders of our Party must denounce Lonegan now or own his comments,” Olmo said.
Bergen and Passaic counties’ respective Republican organizations are backing Lonegan’s opponent John McCann in this spring’s contest to determine who will challenge incumbent freshman Democrat Josh Gottheimer.
The Lonegan campaign has repeatedly refused to entertain the allegations.
Over the weekend, Lonegan forged ahead with his campaign despite BCRO Chairman Paul DiGaetano’s call for him to leave the race, completing a one-day “Stop Sanctuary Cities Tour!” with stops in Sussex, Warren, Passaic and Bergen counties.