October 13th, 2013
08:53 AM ET
9 years 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.

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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. GonzoinHouston

    Sorry, Sarah, you won't find an overwhelming number of your "real Americans" in NJ. Too much education and the leading republican is Chris Christie. Try Mississippi.

    October 13, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Unknowian

    Sarah..Sarah..Sarah. The woman that doesn't even know who fought in WWI, or WWII, wants to be a Senator.
    I'm sure she "Jumped into the race" right from her own property, as you can clearly see New Jersey from Alaska.

    October 13, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. tired

    palin can always be counted on to prostitute herself. wonder what she charged this jerk's campaign?

    October 13, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Thomas

    @jeebus loving bible humpers
    That would be like me bringing in Stephen Hawking to play QB for the Giants.

    Or maybe "Joe the Plumber" to help fix a nuclear reactor meltdown ?

    October 13, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Thomas

    She was just in the neighborhood promoting her new book , Green Eggs and Moose .

    October 13, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Belseth

    What's the first thing you grab on a sinking ship when you're afraid of drowning? Apparently an anchor.

    October 13, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. RCM

    Don't worry, she will quit before the end of the race.

    October 13, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Bob

    Wow. That was the last nail in the coffin. Clear sailing for Booker now.

    October 13, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. winchester74

    That's it – I'm going ahead with my project to print Sarah Palin Hurling Bags. American will need them if we have to hear her babble for another campaign. She doesn't even live in New Jersey.

    October 13, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Eric

    Steve's Lonegan's new nickname is "Long Gone" Lonegan. I suppose that's better than "Lone Gunman" Lonegan.

    October 13, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. straighttalk

    Palin who? You mean the dear chaser form Alaska?

    October 13, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. straighttalk

    She graduated suma cum laud from the University of Idiots.

    October 13, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. tony

    I stopped needing my grandmas help as soon as I grew up.

    October 13, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. fukingguy

    Even less reason to vote for Lonegan. Really shows a lack of judgement and character on his part. Who's next Ted Cruz?

    October 13, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. peter Nguyen

    A loser is helping a loser..

    October 13, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. NameFrank Deery

    Sarah Palin was ridiculed by the mainstream
    media, but she was right about Obama from the start. From Benghazi to Damascus and Egypt, our foreign policy is a disaster. At home, Boston, rising crime in inner cities(Oakland is a crime zone) and a tinker-toy health plan, spell Obama's second dreary term. Now, this budget mess,
    Which other Presidents, including Clinton, have compromised on. Sarah predicted this
    Scenario in 2008.

    Sarah Palin is beloved by a cross section of
    Especially Middle America, who have always borne the brunt of economic downturns, while illegals get "sanctuary" or welfare, and,
    at the other end, the liberal 1% part continues to fund Obama's destruction of Ameriica, where "fat cats" donors are not in Detroit or Harlem, but in Bel-Aire(head), Palm Beach or Vegas, where Obama arrogantly "fundraised" as Ambassador Stevens lay dead in Libya.

    New Jersey, you gave US Christie, who would be a far better President than Obama.
    He'd get this done! Booker is a good man. But in the wrong Party. That is why Sarah is helping. If Republicans keep the House and take The Senate in 2014., we can keep preening Obama in check.

    October 13, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Larry

    Cracks me up, She drives you Progressive Marxists nuts!

    October 13, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Maja

    She makes for a fine New Jersey housewife.

    October 13, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Mike

    Will have to echo some other comments; anyone who thinks that Palin is an asset is seriously out of touch.

    October 13, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. dnokc

    You may not care for the messenger but none the less the truth, will set you free.

    October 13, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Joseph

    Dems hatred of Palin is illogical. Comments here not about here stance on issues but suggesting she's a tramp and a racist highlight that. Get a little blood in the water and the feeding frenzy is on. If she were some politician like Anthony Weiner...maybe. But liberal ideologs simply need a boogey man on the right. A common cause to rally round to spew hate.

    October 13, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. jb1963

    Thanks Sarah. You helped Booker out big time. You ignorance proves the right is old and out of touch.

    October 13, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Nat

    Gee I hope this is a republican primary race.....otherwise Why would he think Palin would get him independent and dem votes?

    October 13, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. vinster76

    you go girl! – Nothing like Sarah to show the depth of liberal idiocy.......

    October 13, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. former Texas republican

    So we can assume then that if by some freak of probability Lonegan does get elected, she will actually be the governor operating behind the curtain.

    October 13, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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