Conservative former GOP Senate candidate Steve Lonegan says he'll make a run for a House seat from southern New Jersey.
Friday editions of the Star-Ledger
report Lonegan will seek the seat held by retiring two-term Republican Rep. Jon Runyan.
"Yup," he replied in answer to whether the campaign was definite.
“I have the hottest donor list in the country," he told the newspaper. "My name ID there is over 90 percent. I have a terrific campaign team that’s ready to rock, is experienced and seasoned. I have coordinators in every town in the district, in every church and synagogue.”
Lonegan ran a surprisingly competitive race against high-profile Democrat
Cory Booker in the special U.S. Senate election
But he faced sharp criticism over controversial comments
a staffer made questioning Booker's masculinity, which could jeopardize his receiving the support of prominent GOP backers, The Hill reports.
“I have got terrific support on the ground from mayors, municipal chairmen, elected officials,” Lonegan told the Star-Ledger. “Will I have the party bosses' support? I don’t know about that.”
Lonegan vowed his Senate campaign would be his last, but told the newspaper the South Jersey race was an important one.
"I believe I am the best candidate to keep this critical seat to preserve the future," he said. "I’ll step up to the plate and do it.”
He faces a likely primary battle since several Republicans, including John Giordano, an official in Gov. Chris Christie's administration, have announced their intentions. One Democrat, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, is running, the newspaper said — and the election could be one of the most competitive of the year.
Local GOP chairman Bill Layton told the newspaper Lonegan pulled the trigger on his candidacy too early, snubbing a screening Saturday along with other potential candidates.
“We have a process and no one’s been ruled out yet," Layton said. "So he’s basically slapping all of us in the face and doing what he always does: Running against the party. He’ll lose like he always loses."
In a statement, Marc Brumer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said: "The tea party sent a clear sign today that its sights are set on South Jersey and radical Steve Lonegan will be their standard-bearer in this swing district."
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