The party bosses in Ocean and Burlington Counties that comprise the district have settled on endorsing former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur. Ocean County Republicans with the stones to defy Chairman George Gilmore are lining up behind Toms River Councilman Maurice Hill, a retired Navy rear admiral. If Lonegan continues to compete for the nomination in the party conventions, he’s likely to come in third in Ocean and second in Burlington. Lonegan does not have an organization to compete with the Ocean and Burlington Republican organization should he run a primary race against MacArthur.
Lonegan should stop fighting fellow Republicans in Ocean and Burlington and come north to Monmouth and Middlesex where we need his considerable talent. If Monmouth GOP Chairman John Bennett and Middlesex GOP Chairman Sam Thompson have not been on the phone pleading with Lonegan to take on ObamaCare author Frank Pallone in the 6th Congressional district, they are missing an opportunity.
It is understandable that the lure of winning an open seat in a Republican leaning district prompted Lonegan to pull a Brett Farve and end his short retirement after making a race of the Special U.S. Senate Election against Cory Booker last October. But competing for an open seat is a waste of the scrappy underdog’s political talent. Lonegan is a Don Quixote who takes on impossible tasks and makes a dent. His relative success against Booker last year, an 11 point loss when most expected a Booker blowout, is one of the things that has kept well know Republicans from challenging Booker this year. Those with far less courage than Lonegan are affraid of that a loss of greater than 11 points against Booker would do to their future careers, as if there is a future for Republicans in the post-Christie era in New Jersey.
Lonegan is at his best with an opponent. In Pallone, Lonegan would have an opponent who couldn’t hide from him the way Booker did last year. In Pallone, Lonegan would have issues with which to attack Pallone that will resonate with the 6th district voters. ObamaCare is a better issue for Lonegan this year than it was last year. From Fort Monmouth to Fort Hancock to RREM and FEMA, Pallone has a miserable record of representing the interests of 6th District voters in Washington.
It would be a heavy lift for sure. Not a slam dunk like the 3rd district race would be had he won the nomination. But Lonegan is a fighter and a patriot. Defeating or bloodying Frank Pallone would be a great service to America.
Pallone, while formidable, is wounded. He spent 75% of his campaign war chest in his own race against Booker last year. Even Nancy Pelosi has lost confidence in Pallone.
Lonegan has at least one more general election in him. It won’t be in the 3rd congressional district of New Jersey. Come to where your needed, Steve. Give Pallone a fight he can’t imagine.