October 13th, 2013
08:53 AM ET
9 months ago

Palin campaigns for N.J. Senate hopeful

New Egypt, New Jersey (CNN) – What does a candidate do if he's down in the polls, days from the election, and his opponent is a political celebrity?

Answer: Bring in his own celebrity.

That's what Senate hopeful Steve Lonegan did this weekend, just days before he faces off against Democratic nominee and Newark Mayor Cory Booker in New Jersey's special U.S. Senate election on Wednesday.

His wild card? Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"Can the rest of America count on you to send Steve Lonegan to the United States Senate?" Palin asked the crowd Saturday at a rally for Lonegan in Ocean County. It was her first appearance at a tea party rally in more than a year, when she stumped for Ted Cruz in Texas in July 2012.

Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota, faces an uphill battle against Booker, a man well known on the national stage.

"Don't be measuring the drapes there just quite yet," Palin said in a warning to Booker.

Palin and Lonegan paint the race as a national referendum on President Barack Obama's policies, including Obamacare.

"When we go to Washington on October 17 (the day after the special election), it's going to be Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that are going to fold," Lonegan said at the rally.

Thanks in part to Lonegan's aggressive ad campaign, Booker's 28-percentage-point lead in August dipped to 12 points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.

That's not surprising to some voters in New Jersey, a state where Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans.

"There are a lot of people in the state that have conservative values and just don't know it," one woman, Alexandra Zazanis of North Arlington, said at the rally.

But another voter said he's not quite on board with Lonegan's policies.

"I'm a Republican, but I think Lonegan's a little bit too far to the right," Dave Munn said.

Krista Jenkins, Director of Public Mind At Farleigh Dickenson University, acknowledge that Lonegan has narrowed his gap with Booker, but added the Republican is still a longshot for the Senate seat.

"We're looking at a very blue state there's approximately 700,000 more registered Democrats than there are Republicans," she said. "So anyone who runs, with the exception of Chris Christie right now, anyone who runs as a Republican, you know, for the Senate is certainly going to have a more difficult time than somebody who's a Democrat."

And because Lonegan is a "movement conservative," not a moderate Republican, his uphill fight is "much steeper" the Garden State, she said.

Lonegan is against abortion rights and same-sex marriage, but his views on Booker seem to be getting all the attention. Lonegan fired one of his top advisers, Rick Shaftan, Friday after that adviser gave a profanity-laced interview, ridiculing Booker for having a Twitter exchange with a stripper.

"I don't know, it was like what a gay guy would say to a stripper," the adviser said.

Lonegan said he can't be responsible for what one of his supporters says.

"I have hundreds of activists, volunteers, donors, people on this campaign and I can't be responsible for what all of them say, but I will take responsibility – so I terminated the gentleman for his inappropriate comment," he told CNN.

Lonegan was criticized for his own comments about Booker after the Newark mayor addressed questions about whether he was gay.

"People who think I'm gay, some part of me thinks it's wonderful," Booker told The Washington Post. "Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I'm gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I'm straight.'"

Lonegan weighed in on Booker's comments during an August radio interview.

"It's kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy," he said.

Then there was the comment that Lonegan made during last week's debate: "All that income tax and sales tax money gets poured into the big black hole of Newark."

After facing some backlash from critics saying his remark was racist, Lonegan said Saturday, "the liberal media is going to say what they want to say."

"Newark's budget is a big black hole," he continued. "And it sucks in millions and billions of suburban taxpayer dollars and we never see it again, period."


Filed under: 2013 • Cory Booker • New Jersey • Sarah Palin • Senate • Steve Lonegan
soundoff (309 Responses)
  1. keeth

    She was due to step into the spotlight again. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me! Go, me!

    October 13, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Lean6

    If Sarah Palin is your life line, then really...what do you have to live for?

    October 13, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. Terry

    Right! Allow a person who is commonly referred to as the dumbest person to have ever run for a national office help you out. It just proves that stupid people have a penchant to ask those whose lack of intelligence is similar to theirs. Cory is the superior candidate in every way. A loss for him would only prove that the voters have a problem with intelligence also. Lets hope that that is not the case.

    October 13, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. yasir khan

    Republicans want only the top few percent to prosper. They can care less for middle class and poor. Bushonomics has destroyed American economy leaving Obama with a huge mess. Although The world greatest economy is slowly getting back its status Another Republican charge is trying to undermine it. Republicans might never come to power again in senate if the common sense prevail. Obama is doing the best this economy can deliver

    October 13, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. gpaul50

    How could you vote for someone who thinks Sarah Palin will help his campaign.

    October 13, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. WARIS SHERE

    How desperate he must be to call Sarah for help. Poor guy will lose by a land slide with Sarah's help. She should spend more time to see Russia from her window. It will undoubtedly broaden her knowledge
    in world affairs.

    October 13, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. ldavid69

    I guess you can call it a hail Sarah. Instead of losing by 17 points , he will lose by 33 points.

    October 13, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. nyckid

    LOL OOOPS!!! Isn't she responsible for bringing us joe the plummet (I know it's plumber) lmao

    October 13, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. ed Poko

    Palin couldn't help herself but now she appears to be trying to help the NJ Republican candidate - LOSE. Palin, stay out of it and the Republican has a better chance !

    October 13, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. frank thomas

    Will she bring in her clan of no nothings, wil sarah go shopping at macy,s . the latest saga in the palin soap.,will she open her mouth and stuff her foot in again>??

    October 13, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. thewiccanview

    Well she will be around till it looks like work.. then quit.. That is her usual way of doing things. The old 'when the going gets tough.. Sarah quits..'.

    October 13, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. are122

    LOL, she thinks she can help in a State that loves high taxes, regulations and unions??? No one can help that place.

    October 13, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Normal In NH

    Yes, well, Mr. Booker has been so good for part of NJ...this is a logical next step (sarcasm)

    October 13, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. MBW

    A Sarah Palin endorsement will help in NJ about as much as a Barney Frank endorsement would help in Alabama.

    October 13, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. lakesfan

    Just what we need in Washington: another bigoted right-wing radical whose mantra is "It's my way or the highway." Yep, that will get funding restored for our soldiers, veterans, children and the elderly.

    October 13, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. CoolCMo

    In 5 decades of observing politics, I have never seen an act of desperation as transparent as this one.

    October 13, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Valkyrie

    If there is a high voter turnout in NJ, Booker will win. NJ loves Booker. Most NJ voters know Lonegan is nuts, and Palin's support of him confirms this.

    October 13, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. here and back again

    Zombie ALERT....Sarah Palin has raised her head again. See how serious this is? This is not Hollywood. You can't kill a zombie the way you see in movies.

    October 13, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. gosh

    oh no .... god bless america .. we are now dead

    October 13, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Mitchyj

    An endorsement by Palin makes Booker a shoe in. She is a phony imbecile plain and simple.

    October 13, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. jy

    This will destroy the GOP's chances of winning

    October 13, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. mistamista

    The next time your headline starts with "Palin Jumps In To...", do you think you could finish it off with "A Pit Of Fire" or "A Library" or "A Tornado Filled With Nails and Lumber"? Thank you, God...

    October 13, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Michael Benjamin

    Lonegan to Palin: I need your help.
    Pailn to Lonegon: Write me a check, I'll be there.

    October 13, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Adlani

    She must be SO stupid to think that people from NJ would listen to her and vote for her guy.

    October 13, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Mymy

    Yes, when you are behind, and are looking to get some moderate dems to vote for you.. by all means, bring in Palin... they love her. LOL It is freaking New Jersey, a blue state... does this candidate have a brain?

    October 13, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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