Author: Rory B. Bellows
The Weekly Standard has described New Jersey Republican Steve Lonegan as an “unreconstructed Reaganite” in a blog post about the upcoming Gubernatorial primary.
They make the point, that we have made here, that Lonegan’s campaign will be able to raise enough funds to considered a serious challenge to Chris Christie. This primary is not going to be a coronation. Lonegan earned notoriety in 2007 when he spearheaded the defeat of two of Governor Corzine’s ballot intiatives as well as his attempt to “monetize” the turnpike in an attempt to borrow money to solve the state’s problem of excessiv borrowing.
Conservatives, as well as all Republicans in New Jersey, should be happy with the fact that a legitimate primary will take place. A protracted primary process probably helped Barack Obama as any attack against him was aired in March and April and his campaign was prepared, efficient machine by the general election. All the candidates will be vetted and the name recognition of the candidates will increase across the state as the media will devote coverage to a serious race.
A serious primary will show that while Republicans have differences, they are united against a second term for John Corzine and they will have months of media coverage devoted to a continued assault on Simple John’s pathetic term in office.
I know many Republican feel Chri Christie with his establishment moderation is the best man to unseat Corzine. Maybe, maybe not. Think of a primary as training camp. If Chris Christie can’t survie a serious position competition in the spring, the GOP would have been infor a disaster with an untested candidate who hasn’t run for office in 12 years topping their ticket in November. On the other hand, if Lonegan can win the primary by rallying conservative activists, he will have demonstrated a grass roots appeal not seen in this state in quite some. Sure, cnservative activists have sprung primary upsets. Bret Schundler over Bob Franks in the 2001 Gubernatorial primary comes to mind, but Franks was damaged goods after his 2000 Senate campaign loss to John Corzine. He was a proven loser with no where near the reputation or golden boy trappings that Chris Christie currently enjoys.
Get excited. This is going to be a fun ride.