What were they thinking?

Ben Dworkin, Director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, introduces U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan. September 24, 2013

Ben Dworkin, Director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, introduces U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan. September 24, 2013

I don’t think Steve Lonegan and Rick Shaftan are stupid.

I don’t think they believed their own bs over the years that a “true conservative” could win a statewide election in New Jersey, if only given a chance.

Surprisingly to many, Lonegan’s campaign since August was working.  He substantially narrowed the gap between himself and Cory Booker.  He unquestionably weakened the electorate’s perception of Booker.  Lonegan never moderated his message, but he significantly moderated his delivery and demeanor.  He was not a scary angry conservative.

The Lonegan I witnessed at Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics last month was not a flame thrower.  He was an honest and concerned adult sharing his wisdom with college students.

I never got to the point where I thought Lonegan would win next week.  I did think that if he got into single digits, he would be the front runner for a rematch with Booker in 2014.   I thought, if he kept doing what he was doing, in the style he was doing it, his best shot at beating Booker was in November of 2014.

I don’t think that anymore.  With tonight’s debate performance, combined with scheduled appearances with Sarah Palin and Mark Levin this weekend, I think Lonegan and Shaftan concluded they aren’t going to win, so they might as well have fun for the last week of Lonegan’s political career.

Tea Party Expess promotional material

Tea Party Expess promotional material

Last week, Lonegan told the Asbury Park Editorial Board Neptune Nudniks, that he was finished with politics if he lost this race.  He said his wife told them they would have been billionaires if he had devoted all the time and energy he gave to politics, as a mayor, candidate and executive with Americans for Prosperty, over the last two decades to a business career.  He said that if he lost the Special Senate Election, he would start a business.

I intend to go back into the private sector and build a business. I believe that the most moral and effective thing you can do is build a business, create jobs, create value for consumers, and I’ve done my best in New Jersey as a mayor, as an advocate for taxpayers and even as a spokesperson in this campaign in serving my country. So if I was to lose, I will not be running again,” he said.

I’m guessing that after reviewing the results of the Quinnipiac poll this morning, and perhaps their own numbers, Lonegan and Shaftan concluded that they had done the best that they could do in Blue Jersey.  They figured the boost in donations that they had gotten from the previous Quinnipiac poll, which changed everyone’s expectations, would now start to dry up, as the smart money concluded the race was not winnable after all.  Without significantly more money pouring in during the last week of the campaign, they figured they were not going to duplicate Scott Brown’s Massachusetts Miracle in New Jersey.

“So let’s have fun and go out with a bang,” I’m guessing they said to each other.  And now they are.


Posted: October 9th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Senate Special Election, Steve Lonegan | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments »

8 Comments on “What were they thinking?”

  1. Ralph said at 11:16 pm on October 9th, 2013:

    I disagree, low turnout race – much different than a Novemebr race. Shaftan is running a good race, Sarah Palin can help turnout. This is a low turnout Wednesday race, Independents dont vote. Conservative base vs. Liberal Base. Sarah Palin helps with that.

  2. Bob English said at 12:03 am on October 10th, 2013:

    I would guess that 2 to 3 times NJ voters would have a negative view of Palin as a positive one. That number is probably worse with independents.

    Palin might appeal to some extreme elements of the base but outside of that she would do a lot more harm than good to Lonegan and any other R that needs moderate NJ voters to win a state wide race.

  3. Good for them! said at 7:20 am on October 10th, 2013:

    And, agree, most I’s won’t one out on a Wednesday in Oct.. And, what an honor to have both Palin and Levin come in! Look, if we don’t stand up and show clear differences, we are going to keep getting more of the same crap from down there! Go, Steve! Make a miracle happen! Show up Gov. Selfish…

  4. Joe said at 7:48 am on October 10th, 2013:

    I don’t think most people in NJ pay attention. I believe most voters had no idea that there was a debate or that Palin and Levin are coming. That’s why Lonegan is working on turning out the base.

  5. Lois said at 9:27 am on October 10th, 2013:

    Correction: WE have to work on turning out the base. WE who care so passionately, believe Steve is far far superior, know what a tremendous addition he would be to the Senate.

    Now WE need to be talking to every single person we encounter, leading up to Wednesday. Pick your words carefully, (mindful for what might best penetrate the stuck-in-stone mindset of low-information voters ) but also mindful people DO care—–BUT, they don’t know why to vote for Steve (or even to vote on Wednesday). Maybe that personal touch will work.

    Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. WE have to pull out all the stops and get Steve FIRST in over the finish line.

  6. Joe Wedick said at 10:29 am on October 10th, 2013:

    It’ll be 2 1/2 to 3 times as many votes for Booker as for Lonegan

  7. Lonegan's Problem said at 10:47 am on October 10th, 2013:

    Is Lonegan, AND Rick Shaftan. Their true selves are finally showing thru.

    Shaftan is even more a pompous and arrogant arse that can no more keep it bottled up like I’m the Pope.

    I don’t think it will be “2 1/2 to 3 times” but Lonegan did more to turn out Democrat voters last night via sound bites than than he did to turn out his own base.


    Silence Dogood, Redux

  8. Good call, Silence said at 9:03 pm on October 11th, 2013:

    Right on cue, Crazy Rick shows his true colors:


    In a profanity-filled assessment of the race delivered via phone Thursday, Rick Shaftan, a senior staffer and key strategist on Lonegan’s campaign, suggested voters would be turned off by Booker’s “odd” behavior including Twitter messages the Democrat sent to a stripper, that Shaftan described as “strange” and “like what a gay guy would say.”

    “It was just weird. I mean, to me, you know, hey, if he said, ‘Hey, you got really hot breasts man, I’d love to suck on them.’ Then like, yeah, cool. But like, he didn’t say that,” Shaftan explained. “It was like kind of like, I don’t know, it was like what a gay guy would say to a stripper. It’s the way he was talking to her. It’s just like like there was no sexual interest at all. I don’t know. To me, if I was single and you know like some stripper was tweeting me, I might take advantage of the perks of the office, you know?”

    Read the whole thing. It gets worse.