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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:52 am 
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June 1 (Bloomberg) -- One Republican marked his territory outside a candidate forum last week with a sign that read “No RINO Zone.”
Another looked skeptically at the sign, which stands for “Republican in Name Only,” saying his party too often puts up candidates who “can’t win.”
New Jersey Republicans will settle that debate tomorrow when they choose a nominee for governor. Steven Lonegan, a former mayor, is running as a candidate true to the party’s low taxes, anti-abortion rights and pro-gun roots. His opponent, Chris Christie, a one-time federal prosecutor, casts himself as a pragmatist who would win more support in a general election.
The race is a proxy battle for the larger fight among Republicans nationally after their party lost control of both the Congress and the White House in last year’s elections.
“There’s only one statewide Republican primary in America this year and this is it,” Lonegan, 53, said in an interview.
“We’re going to re-establish the Republican Party as the party of true conservative values or simply move toward the moderate me-too, so-called establishment party.”
As far as David Bock is concerned, the debate has been settled. Carrying the “No RINO Zone” sign, Bock, 64, a retiree from East Windsor, said conservatives are “fed up” with a party that “is basically Democrat light.”

‘Just Can’t Win’

Ira Oskowsky, a Christie supporter, stood nearby. “A lot of times, Republicans put up people who just can’t win,” said Oskowsky, a 49-year-old former mayor. Christie “is flexible where Lonegan is not flexible.”
Lonegan backs a flat income tax, opposes abortion rights and vows to defend gun rights. Christie, 46, who supports gun control and backs more incremental tax overhaul, says Republicans must be more inclusive to regain power. While he was once in favor of abortion rights, he now favors restrictions.
The stakes are clear because Republican numbers are dwindling. A recent Pew Research Center study shows the number of Americans who identify themselves as Republicans is 23 percent, down from a high of 30 percent in 2004.
Republicans in New Jersey haven’t won a statewide race in
12 years, since Governor Christine Todd Whitman was re-elected in 1997.

Christie Lead

A May 27 Rasmussen Reports poll of 400 likely Republican voters in New Jersey gave Christie an 11-point lead over Lonegan, with 15 percent undecided. The poll had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.
The race is probably even closer. Large numbers of “more traditional conservatives” in southern counties such as Cumberland and Gloucester often turn out to vote in greater numbers, said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
“You could have a real surprise,” he said.
Christie said the numbers demonstrate he is the better candidate to beat Governor Jon Corzine, 62, a Democrat who is seeking a second term.
“There is an element of pragmatism that will go into this choice, but they also agree with what I’m saying,” Christie said.
Similar battle lines are being drawn in Republican primaries in other states in 2010.
In Utah, Senator Bob Bennett, who received a 92 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in 2005, voted for a recent $700 billion plan to bail out financial firms that has been criticized by many Republicans. He now faces a primary challenge from Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

Florida Split

In Florida, at least five county Republican groups have passed resolutions condemning the state and national party for backing Governor Charlie Crist over former state House speaker Marco Rubio in their Senate race. Crist has split with his party on the environment, the stimulus and civil rights, while Rubio is a protégé of former Governor Jeb Bush. Typically, off-year elections haven’t been a reliable barometer of national trends. Still, the New Jersey primary is “the first test between the Republicans who favor purism in the party and those who take more of a big tent approach,” said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington.
“Out here, you had people pretty polarized,” said Jim Poesl, an assembly candidate for the 19th district who backs Lonegan and stood outside the May 26 debate. “Eventually, the Republican Party is going to have to straighten out or split.”

‘Obama Juggernaut’

Baker said the New Jersey primary will test core party values. “There’s a feeling that conservatism is under attack and that the only people who are going to be able to stand up to the Obama juggernaut are true believers,” he said. At the same time, there are signs even some of the staunchest conservatives are coming around to the view the party may need candidates like Christie to win elections again.
For the past decade, Republicans have picked candidates such as former Mayor Bret Schundler, a conservative who won the nomination in 2001 though lost the general election to Democrat Jim McGreevey.
Now Schundler has endorsed Christie. So has former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes, the originator of the flat tax, even though Lonegan is advocating a 2.9 percent flat income tax.
Richard Kamin, a former state party co-chair, is supporting Christie over Lonegan, both of whom he has known for 20 years. A Christie victory would signify a win for “the big tent and realistic wing of the party,” Kamin said


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:13 am 
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Go Lonegan!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:18 am 
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BDBopper wrote:
Go Lonegan!


Its unfortunate conservatives were slow to highlight this race. Hopefully we have focused on the Rubio race far enough out to make a difference.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:36 am 
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My daughter and son-in-law live in Monmouth County. They both like Lonegan very much and are voting for him in the primary. However, they will support whatever candidate emerges, either Lonegan or Christi, again Corzine. New Jerseyites are really disgusted this time -- ridiculous property taxes and nothing at all to show for it but corruption. I know this happens every election cycle in NJ, but Corzine is extremely unpopular.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:19 am 
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Lonegan is not much about "vertical politics" and it is only hesitantly do I vote for him tomorrow. His campaign has made constant phone attacks against Christie, many of which accuse Christie of things that it's hard to verify the truth of. Also note that he is for the flat tax and not the fair tax. I met an independent candidate who was seeking to get on the ballot in the general election and I may vote for him then.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:08 pm 
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NJ Huck Supporter wrote:
Lonegan is not much about "vertical politics" and it is only hesitantly do I vote for him tomorrow. His campaign has made constant phone attacks against Christie, many of which accuse Christie of things that it's hard to verify the truth of. Also note that he is for the flat tax and not the fair tax. I met an independent candidate who was seeking to get on the ballot in the general election and I may vote for him then.


I agree with you - I voted for him today, I wish he would win (especially since some are framing this as a conservative versus a moderate) - but he's not a candidate I wanted to work for. But then, neither is Christie.

I guess we'll know for sure soon.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:09 pm 
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Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, Christie is endorsed by both Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.
Quote:
Lonegan attacks Romney, who likes Christie's plan
by: Jason Springer
Sat May 30, 2009 at 02:37:30 PM EDT

More fun and games in the GOP Primary. Chris Christie was endorsed by the Mittster himself, Mitt Romney in Haddonfield on Thursday, which opened the door for the latest Lonegan lines:

"Mitt Romney was rejected by Republican Primary voters because he was a moderate trying to pass himself off as a conservative just in time to win an election. Chris Christie has done the exact same thing in this race, so it follows that Romney would back him," he says in a statement.

"This is a case of one fraudulent moderate trying to help another one. Republican voters will see through Chris Christie the same way they did Mitt Romney last February."

Rejected and fraudulent, it must be getting close to election day. I love the fight over who is the bigger, better conservative too. But my favorite part of the Romney trip into town was learning that he knows something no one else does:

I know Chris Christie. I've looked at his plan in great depth.

Maybe since Mitt knows all about the plan and has seen it in such great depth, he could share with the voters because Christie hasn't been willing to do so.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:13 pm 
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Quote:
I agree with you - I voted for him today, I wish he would win (especially since some are framing this as a conservative versus a moderate) - but he's not a candidate I wanted to work for. But then, neither is Christie.


I think that is why Huck stayed out of this.

Romney endorsed Christie which has upset some conservatives.

In Rubio we have a conservative, a good man, and an articulate leader.

Christie defeats Lonegan to face Corzine in bid for governor
http://www.courierpostonline.com/articl ... 006/news01


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:15 pm 
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:cry: :cry:


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:16 pm 
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Chris Christie has all the makings of a Mitt Romney Republican (socially). He apparently ran for assembly as a pro-choice candidate and is now running as pro-life. At least he is today...we'll see about tomorrow. Romney never made it far enough for us to see how far to the left he was going to track. :evil:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:25 pm 
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Christie won. Lonegan conceded at 10 p.m.

Christie had everyone and their brother/sister endorsing him: Congressman Chris Smith, former mayor and gubernatorial candidate Brett Schundler, Steve Forbes, you name it.

I'll vote for him in November, and I certainly want him to beat Corzine. How much I'll do toward that end remains to be seen.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:30 am 
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This will set the conservative movement back. Now they will just say that we need a big tent, moderate leaning GOP. This is definitely an uphill battle.

I want to start getting involved at the lowest level. Does anyone know the best way to get information concerning town hall meetings or council meetings or wherever I need to start attending? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:07 am 
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Quote:
This will set the conservative movement back.


It won't. When good conservative candidates lose then it does.

Lonegan was not an effective advocate for conservatism.

If Rubio loses then it will be a setback as he isn't just a conservatives in principals but an effective leader.

If we put up conservatives who have good principals but are not good candidates in terms of reaching people, then we undermine our movement. Huckabee is so effective because he is more than a good vote, is a great voice that will move public opinion.

I want people to think of conservatives as articulate, sharp, and civil. That is why Rubio / Huckabee and there type need to win.

If we have people like Bush who blow up the budget and fail to articulate to the country, we will lose.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:16 pm 
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davidblp wrote:
Quote:
This will set the conservative movement back.


It won't. When good conservative candidates lose then it does.

Lonegan was not an effective advocate for conservatism.

If Rubio loses then it will be a setback as he isn't just a conservatives in principals but an effective leader.

If we put up conservatives who have good principals but are not good candidates in terms of reaching people, then we undermine our movement. Huckabee is so effective because he is more than a good vote, is a great voice that will move public opinion.

I want people to think of conservatives as articulate, sharp, and civil. That is why Rubio / Huckabee and there type need to win.

If we have people like Bush who blow up the budget and fail to articulate to the country, we will lose.


I agree. I had conservatives asking me who I was voting for, there was much confusion among Christian conservatives, and this was not as clearly delineated as some want to make it. On paper, Lonegan was the stronger candidate - but his demeanor (hard to even find a picture of him smiling; he got arrested awhile back while protesting a Corzine event) was off-putting. My mom saw him on Cavuto (Monday, I guess) and asked me about it afterwards. (I'd not seen it). I said something like, well, he's rather dreadful, and she quickly said "I'm so glad to hear you say that," as she knew I was going to vote for him. (She did, too.)

He is not someone who represented who we want to be - as Rubio is. That would be much more of a setback.


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