Lonegan: Oct. race will be referendum on health law

GOP's Steve Lonegan, running for U.S. Senate, said Oct. election date "is an opportunity to talk about Obamacare without any interference. . . ."
GOP's Steve Lonegan, running for U.S. Senate, said Oct. election date "is an opportunity to talk about Obamacare without any interference. . . ." (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 24, 2013

Republican Steve Lonegan on Thursday praised Gov. Christie's controversial decision to schedule the special New Jersey U.S. Senate election in October, saying the odd date would make the race against Newark Mayor Cory Booker a referendum on President Obama's health-care law.

"This is an opportunity to talk about Obamacare without any interference of other elections, other candidates on the ballot, other issues clouding the agenda," Lonegan told Geraldo Rivera on his radio show Thursday morning. "It's a great opportunity to win the first Republican U.S. Senate seat in 42 years."

Booker supports the health-care overhaul, while Lonegan says he would work to defund or repeal it.

New Jersey Democrats have said Christie should have put the election on the same ballot as the gubernatorial and legislative races in November. They have suggested that Christie, a Republican, did not want to appear on the same ballot with Booker, a popular Democrat who could have helped increase voter turnout in his party.

Lonegan, a former state director of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, also said Thursday that he hoped the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch would help with fund-raising. The Kochs helped found the group.

"I can only hope so," Lonegan said. "Cory Booker has Oprah Winfrey running around, the Hollywood elite, he has the Silicon Valley moguls giving him a free business called Waywire."

Lonegan's wife, Lorraine, recently wrote a letter to Winfrey asking the television personality to meet with her so she could tell her husband's story.

Asked about his chances to defeat Booker, a popular Democrat who is leading by 16 points in the polls, Lonegan said, "I think the next polls that come out are going to be quite different from that."

Booker spent the afternoon campaigning at a Newark warehouse, where he sought to contrast his vision with Lonegan's. Both received prominent endorsements this week: Booker from Obama, and Lonegan from Christie and Republican Sen. Jeffrey S. Chiesa.


Contact Andrew Seidman at 856-779-3846 or aseidman@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @AndrewSeidman.

 

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