Steve Loneghan, who has become a fixture on New Jersey election ballots in recent years, lost in the state's Republican congressional primary Tuesday night.
With more than 80 percent of the votes tallied, former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur had earned 59 percent of the vote to Loneghan's 40 percent in the two-man race.
Aimee Belgard cruised to victory in the Democratic primary and will square off with MacArthur in the November election to determine who will represent the 3rd District. The winner will replace Republican Jon Runyan, who is retiring.
Loneghan, who served as the mayor of Bogota, N.J., from 1995 to 2007, has led several unsuccessful campaigns.
He ran for governor in 2005 and 2009 but was defeated in the GOP primary both times. Last fall, he tried to earn a spot in the Senate to replace Frank Lautenberg, who died while in office. Loneghan was the GOP nominee for the special election but lost to Democrat Cory Booker.
Loneghan released a statement on his website Tuesday evening.
"This is not the outcome we had hoped for in this election, but the dedication shown by people like you, my closest supporters, gives us hope to fight another day," Loneghan wrote.
"From the first day of this race my goal was to provide Third District voters with a clear, conservative message and principled vision. I am proud of the campaign we ran and the effort that my team put forth. Unfortunately, we could not overcome the millions of dollars spent against us in negative attack ads.
"We may have lost tonight, but the fight for our conservative values continues. We must hold those nominated by the Republican Party accountable. That means voting like a conservative, not a liberal, and it means repealing Obamacare, not replacing it with Obamacare-lite.
"I intend to continue to speak out on the issues that matter to us — because America and our great state of New Jersey is worth fighting for."
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