Despite Support of Shutdown, Lonegan Attracts Moderate Voters

But Don't Call Him a Tea Party Leader

Friday, October 11, 2013

Diverse members of the New Jersey Tea Party Coalition in Bergen County, N.J. (Janet Babin, WNYC/WNYC)

Republican Steve Lonegan is closing in on Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker's lead in the race to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat — despite New Jersey's reputation for supporting more moderate GOP candidates.

The former mayor supports the unpopular shutdown of the federal government and has said he wants to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lonegan is winning over moderate New Jersey Democrats and independents in the state. In a Quinnipiac poll earlier this week, Lonegan trailed Booker by just 12 percentage points, 53 percent to 41 percent among likely New Jersey voters.

"As Lonegan's numbers in the polls increase, it then signals other voters ...that maybe this guy has a shot and it's OK to say you're going to vote for him," said Brigid Callahan-Harrison, Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University. He has also performed well during debates. "Lonegan deserves credit for calling to mind some of the flaws of the Booker Administration," she said.

While attracting moderates, Lonegan has also distanced himself from the Tea Party.

"I am not a Tea Party leader," the former Bogota Mayor said at a recent debate at Rowan University.

But for the past seven years, Lonegan was state director of Americans for Prosperity, a group associated with creating the Tea Party movement.  Tea Party groups say their funding comes from volunteers and grassroots members.

"What is true is that Americans for Prosperity has both encouraged and cooperated with the grass roots Tea Party to push common agendas," said Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. 


To hear the full story, click the audio player.



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Comments [4]

Michele from Bergen County

The picture was finally changed here to reflect those that were interviewed by Ms. Babin. However, the picture is not on the main NPR site, which again leads back to the point on how the media frames the issues, interviews to fit their narrative. Truth is essential and if NPR cannot be truthful, what good is it to the population and the use of funding?

This is exactly why distrust of the media runs high and why the concerns voiced that at the beginning of the interview up front and honestly. When journalists, editors and news can be 'bought' or influenced by ANY politico you know the truth will be manipulated. It has and it will continue until ALL citizens become involved and call out any and ALL who do not disclose the issues fairly.

Oct. 20 2013 01:07 PM
Queen Esther

You state in your article above, "The former mayor supports the unpopular shutdown of the federal government." This is a misleading and false statement. No conservative was in favor of a government shutdown. In fact, the Republican House voted to fund the entire government except for Obamacare. It was the Democratic Senate that refused to entertain the House's bill, causing the shutdown. The duty of the press is to point out the problems in government, not to support them in their lust for power. As a result, Steve Lonegan and any conservative candidate must overcome almost insurmountable odds to win an election. Despite the press, Steve Lonegan had an admirable showing with a 10 point spread,down from 25. An honest press would have produced an honest and admirable candidate.

Oct. 20 2013 01:31 AM
Michele from Bergen County

I had time to further reflect on the audio and it's interesting to note that the first part of the quote from Michele was not included that referred to the Bush bailouts as the first step toward runaway spending. Conveniently the second half was included that named Obama. The public looks to our journalists to be above board and truthful and not including the first half, which referred to the concern surrounding Bush and the bailouts, leads one to believe only Obama was seen as responsible to the spending. That is not accurate, it started with GW Bush.

Additionally, the photograph of the people interviewed and the remarks by the Black and Latino members were not included or referred to. Is that by design to have the tea party fit the model that the media has itself designed or was it an oversight? Then you have to wonder who has the agenda and why.

Oct. 17 2013 04:02 PM
Michele from Bergen County

The comment is incorrect "But for the past seven years, Lonegan was state director of Americans for Prosperity, a group associated with creating the Tea Party movement."

Americans for Prosperity is not a tea party group nor did it start the tea party groups so the "associated" leaves people to assume that it is correct - you are incorrect. AFP and tea party groups may have all started at similar times but that was in response to the government spending and disregard for citizen well being. Others groups began at that similar time as well.

Also, "Tea Party groups say their funding comes from volunteers and grassroots members." leads one to believe that they "say" but there is doubt - there should be no doubt. Please reach out and try to find one that has large coffers - it's a challenge you'll not be able to meet.

Oct. 12 2013 11:14 AM

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