SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – This past week, the local Republican Party held a fundraiser prior to their regularly scheduled information series and the guest speaker was Senate hopeful Stephen Lonegan.
Lonegan won the Republican special primary, earning the right to face off against Democrat Cory Booker in the special election to be held on Oct. 16 to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg.
Lonegan served as Bogota Mayor for 12 years, winning three times as a Republican in a town that gave Democrat Barack Obama 67.5 percent of the vote in 2012. Lonegan served for seven years as state director of Americans for Prosperity New Jersey, where he helped defeat liberal attempts to expand big government.
“As mayor of a small town, I know how important small business is,” said Lonean. He emphasized how “big government” is not the way to go, and that personal liberties “need to be ensured.”
It came as a surprise to many in the audience when Lonegan made reference to the fact that he was legally blind, so the color of someone’s skin did not even register with him. After the meeting he joked that in his 25 in business he had hired many sighted people and they were “perfectly fine!”
Lonegan ended his remarks with a challenge to Booker to face him in a debate. “I know the issues," Lonegan said. "I don’t need to depend on a teleprompter to know what to say.”
Local Republican Chairperson Al Smith thanked Lonegan for coming, emphasizing the need for “grass-roots” support if the Republicans were going to prevail in the special election.