Editors’ note: This submission, the first of our “grassroots perspectives”, was the cause of a lot of discussion. There was some opposition to publishing this so we asked for documentation, reviewed it, and it did check out.
Steve Lonegan’s campaign manager is Rick Shaftan. Rick has run all of Lonegan’s electoral efforts – including the loss for Congress, the first loss for Governor, the second loss for Governor, and now this campaign for the United States Senate.
The way Steve Lonegan’s latest campaign is being run has some people scratching their heads and wondering what’s up. To some, Steve seems to be running for “top NJ conservative” instead of United States Senator. Others say that he is posturing before a Republican primary audience and preparing for an early departure by Governor Christie and another special election, only next time it will be for Governor.
Many movement conservatives have noticed that being the state’s “top conservative” has been very lucrative for Steve and Rick. Largely unknown before 2005, Lonegan jumped into the Republican primary for Governor that year to split the conservative vote and deny the nomination for Bret Schundler. As the winner of upset victories for Mayor of Jersey City and the 2001 Republican primary for Governor, Schundler had been the state’s great conservative hope, with no less a figure than William F. Buckley predicting that he would one day reach the White House. But Lonegan, the mayor of a small town in Bergen County, ended all that by splitting the conservative vote in 2005.
Then they started the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP). It should be remembered that AFP was formed with heavy funding from the Libertarian Party candidate for Vice President who ran against the Republican ticket of Ronald Reagan and George Bush in 1980. AFP paid very well, with Lonegan holding a salaried position as State Director and Shaftan picking up lucrative consulting contracts for polling and media buys. In his personal financial disclosure filed with the Secretary of the United States Senate, Lonegan lists his annual compensation from Americans for Prosperity as $228,936.16.
Here’s the rub and the reason behind the reference to divided loyalties. Rick has other clients as well. One of them is Hudson County Democrat political boss Nick Sacco. Rick claims that because Nick Sacco employs him, Sacco should be considered a conservative too. It is kind of weird to expect movement conservatives to buy that a pro-tax increase, pro-government spending, pro-union, pro-gay marriage, anti-Second Amendment, anti-Life, liberal Democrat should get a pass simply through the magic of regularly sending Rick Shaftan a check. It shouldn’t work that way.
Machine boss Sacco is also a “triple dipper” – getting three taxpayer-funded checks for holding three different public offices. Here is what Governor Chris Christie had to say about it:
Shaftan publically defends Sacco. That takes a lot of nerve, because even many Democrats recognize that Sacco is a scumbag. Below is a recording of Sacco’s messages to a public employee who refused to make her body available to the machine boss:
Now here’s the kicker. . . Sacco is a BIG supporter of Cory Booker.
Now how does that work? Rick is running Steve Lonegan’s U.S. Senate campaign AND working for Nick Sacco who is working AGAINST Steve Lonegan and for Cory Booker.
That’s more than a little weird, until you view the entire enterprise through a non-ideological and purely commercial lens. Then it makes perfect sense.
Steve Lonegan needs to tighten up his campaign in a hurry. Steve should wise up and make sure his campaign manager does more than just talk the talk. Make him walk the walk too.
- Poll: Booker leads Lonegan by 35 points in U.S. Senate race (nj.com)
- Democrats better not count their senators until they’re hatched (nj.com)
- Steve Lonegan, Cory Booker Opponent, Stumps With Rand Paul (abcnews.go.com)
- Racially charged Lonegan tweet draws fire from Booker campaign, Newark leaders (nj.com)
- National Democrats Cast New Jersey Senate Candidate As Symbol Of GOP Rebranding Struggles (buzzfeed.com)
- Rand Paul rallies Jersey conservatives, rakes in cash for Lonegan (nj.com)
- Good For Cory Booker And Shame On Steve Lonegan (eclectablog.com)
- Steve Lonegan Says It’s ‘Weird’ Cory Booker Won’t Refute Gay Rumors: ‘I Like Being A Guy’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rand Paul To Join the Clueless Steve Lonegan In New Jersey (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- New Jersey primaries: Cory Booker and Steve Lonegan win Senate nomination (theguardian.com)