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.
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.