Steve Lonegan On Why New Jersey Needs To Say No To Cory Booker For Senate
HH: Remember how Scott Brown upset all predictions and became United States Senator from Massachusetts? Well, the same thing could, may in fact be happening in New Jersey where great conservative activist, Steve Lonegan, longtime mayor of Bogota, New Jersey, and former head of the Americans For Prosperity there, is taking on Cory Booker. They’re both the presumptive nominees. Steve Lonegan and I have actually campaigned in the past together in New Jersey. Steve, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, great to have you on.
SL: Hey, Hugh, it’s great to be with you, and yes, thank you for coming out to the Deutscher Club in New Jersey a couple of years ago. It was a terrific event.
HH: Now talk us through this race, because a lot of people say oh, Cory Booker has got it in the bag. That was before today’s big Wall Street Journal story that shows he’s actually in the pocket of big Silicon Valley money. But tell us about this race.
SL: This is the greatest line in the sand decision between a conservative and a liberal in an election New Jersey’s ever seen at a time, Hugh, when I believe our conservative principles are more important to America than ever before. Cory Booker has the presumptive lead in this race, but right now, it’s all about name ID. He’s the glitzy, Hollywood glitterati candidate supported by all the Hollywood elite. But I represent the people of New Jersey on the ground, the people who make jobs, who create economic growth, and stand up for conservative principles. And this election is going to be an election that the whole country will be watching, just like the Scott Brown race. But the difference is in this election is a lot more than just Obamacare. There’s the NSA intrusion into our privacy, there’s the massive explosion of government under Barack Obama, and I’m the best candidate situated to take on Cory Booker or whoever the Democrats nominate, by the way, because they’re all exactly the same, Hugh. They’re all just rubber stamps for the entire Obama agenda.
HH: Now I do want to spend just a moment on this Wall Street Journal story. It turns out that Cory Booker, the hard-working mayor of Newark, we’re all supposed to believe, jetted off and raised millions of dollars for a start-up that appears to be a flop. I mean, shouldn’t we 1) who his friends are, and 2) how well he’d be as a Senator if he can’t make a start-up with that much money go?
SL: You know, Hugh, years ago, many years ago, the technique that railroad tycoons and others used to buy senators and congressmen was to give them stock in their companies, and then the stocks would go up, and they’d basically own them. This time, it’s over the top. This time, Google and Facebook and these other Silicon Valley moguls have bought this guy by giving him a company, funding a company. He’s never lost a night’s sleep over losing his investment, because he’s made no investment. They’ve actually handed him a business, which means he is now indebted to them for the rest of his political career. So when he’s in the Senate casting votes on issues like the Google collection of our data, and how they’re going to use it, you know where he’s going to vote every single time. Hugh, I built my own business from scratch. I mortgaged my house more than once in the last 25 years, my wife and I, to invest it and to build a business. I know what it is to have sleepless nights worrying about building a business and creating real jobs. And on top of that, not only did Cory Booker get handed all this money to start a company out of thin air, he didn’t even build it in Newark. He opened it up in New York City. That’s how much confidence he has in his own city.
SL: I tell you, it’s really outrageous, and I think it demonstrates the difference between me and Cory Booker in a big, big way.
HH: Well, there’s also the fact he put CNN president Jeff Zucker’s son on the board at the age of 14, and gave him stock options. Do you think you’re going to get fair treatment from CNN, Steve Lonegan?
SL: No, and I never expected it. But that’s okay, there’s lots of other great media out there. There’s talk show hosts like yourself, and of course others, and there’s also other news outlets. And there’s social media. Even though Google and Facebook have a lot of input, they’re not going to control the reporting that comes out through great bloggers and other social media outlets as well.
HH: You’re on Twitter, @lonegan, and of course, how can people contribute to the campaign, because you’re going to need a lot of small dollar donations, Steve Lonegan?
SL: And Hugh, I want to thank you very much for helping to ignite the national attention that we need to raise money to run this race, which we will do. You know, Cory Booker’s had Oprah Winfrey in here for a fundraiser. He’s been out to California with Mark Zuckerberg. He’s got all the Hollywood elite. I have the people of America who believe in American principles. You can go to www.loneganforsenate.com. And ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a race the whole country’s going to watch. Hugh, on October 16th, we’re going to cast a referendum in New Jersey not just on the Obama agenda, health care and everything else, but also on the future of our Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United State of America. So I’m proud and honored to be in the position to do this, and I feel very confident that the people of New Jersey will be doing the right thing and set the tone for what’s going to be the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate in 2014.
HH: Now do you think, is Governor Christie helping? He’s got his own reelection in November. A lot of people were surprised at the timing of this. I thought he did it the way that the law required him to do it, straight shooting, and you’re the nominee. But what do you think about his support for you?
SL: I expect to have strong support out of the Governor. He will ultimately do the right thing. I expect him to be out with me on the ground. I supported the Governor after our primary last year. I went out and I stumped for him. I did robo-calls, I spoke at rallies, and I helped bring the conservative base to Governor Christie. And I think after this primary, we can expect a lot out of Governor Christie. I think it’s a great feather in the cap of this governor if he can deliver the first Republican U.S. Senator in New Jersey in 42 years.
HH: What’s your turnout going to be for this election, Steve Lonegan?
SL: It’s going to be very low, and it’s going to be who has the most excited, most energized, most passionate base. Our conservative base is energized about this election. They understand what’s on the line, that we cannot afford to let another far left liberal extremist into the U.S. Senate. And I am very confident in that grassroots army that I’ve helped develop over the last seven years at Americans For Prosperity, and the other projects that I’ve led for the voters of New Jersey.
HH: I said it was a Wall Street Journal story. It’s actually a New York Times story….
HH: …by David Halbfinger and Raymond Hernandez and Claire Cain, Tech Magnates Bet On Booker In Web Venture. I think this may in fact change the race, Steve Lonegan, because it just raises all sorts of red flags about a fellow who’s never, has he been asked any tough questions by the press, yet, about his record in Newark?
SL: He never gets asked tough questions about his record. Under Cory Booker, unemployment has gone from 7.5 to 14.4%. Small business across Newark have seen massive property tax hikes, while big corporations have had huge corporate subsidies, tax abatements, I mean, all kinds of gifts from the Booker administration. So under Booker, crime has gone through the roof. The murder rate has gone up every year for the last five years. His record as a mayor is a total failure, but yet the press does not report that.
HH: Okay, so he’s going to, they’re going to try and have a coronation up there.
HH: Will they insist on debates, at least, because I’ve seen you talk, Steve Lonegan, and you know your way around a podium.
SL: Yes, I do, and I look forward to a lot of debates. I anticipate that Cory Booker will do everything he can to avoid debating me, because he’s simply wrong on every single issue. He is a major supporter of Obamacare, despite the fact that it’s falling apart right under our very noses. This guy gets up in a debate the other night and says how great Obamacare is, and we have to work hard to implement it at the same time the President is postponing the employer mandate, and this whole bureaucracy is falling apart. He’s on the wrong side of every issue, Hugh, every issue. And if the press covers it the right way, we will win this election on October 16th.
HH: I also have to read one paragraph from the New York Times story. “A financial disclosure files last month, Mr. Booker, 44, revealed that his stake in the company was worth $1 million to $5 million. Taken together, his other assets were worth no more than $730,000.” In other words, Silicon Valley basically gifted him more than half of his net worth. How in the world is he supposed to vote on these things?
SL: All of his wealth, and almost all of his income, has come out of the moguls in Silicon Valley. They control him, 100%. And Hugh, originally, he didn’t even disclose this on his first Senate ethics disclosure. It was only a month or so later when I guess his advisors realized that look, we’d legally better do this. And it was only yesterday that he resubmitted his own ethics disclosure to Newark itself. So he’s tried very hard to hide this. He’s not going to get away with it. I’m going to take this battle to Cory Booker, and to the liberals, and we’re going to win in New Jersey come October 16th, and the whole country will be watching this.
HH: www.loneganforsenate.com is the website, @lonegan at Twitter. Help him out with $10, $100, $1,000 bucks. www.loneganforsenate.com. Thank you, Steven Lonegan, we’ll check in as the campaign progresses.
End of interview.