Tag Archive: Steve Lonegan

Republican Civil War Gives Belgard A Chance

promoted by Rosi

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After the Third Congressional District was redesigned to favor Republicans it seemed like the seat was out of reach for Democrats. The removal of Cherry Hill, a major Democratic power base in the region, from the district appeared like a lethal blow to any hope of retaking the seat. Throw in this year being a midterm election and a bad situation only gets worse.

But that was before we all got to see the candidates the Republican Party is putting up. With Congressman Jon Runyan retiring Republican opportunists from across the state have thrown their hat into the ring with the two remaining contenders – Tom MacArthur and Steve Lonegan – both being carpetbaggers with no roots in the district. Both are also wildly unqualified for the office.

Drill, Baby, Drill

No one likes going to the dentist. But it’s smart to get periodic dental checkups and taking care of any problems. It’s something we pay for, maybe grudgingly, but most people do it.

No one enjoys paying taxes either. But most Democrats, at least, understand that, like dental checkups, paying taxes is necessary to maintain a decent quality of life.

That’s why I will never vote for candidates whose platform is simply based on reducing taxes, especially if they refuse to provide a definitive list of services that they will cut and the impact of those cuts. Among the many candidates who pursue this nonsensical approach are the two GOP candidates for Congress in New Jersey’s Third District, Steve Lonegan and Tom MacArthur.

Happy Birthday, Aimee Belgard

Today is a milestone for Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard – her 40th birthday. So how is she celebrating? The way she always does – working hard for causes that she believes in. Today, she’s  drumming up support for her congressional run. But on any other day, she might be advocating for cancer research as a volunteer leader in the American Cancer Society or working for clean water here in Burlington County in her job as Freeholder.

The first time I met Belgard was on election night 2010. It was a sad night for the people of New Jersey’s Third Congressional District as our freshman Congressman John Adler, a fiercely smart and compassionate fixture in South Jersey politics, lost to Michigan native and former NFL football player Jon Runyan in what amounted to a popularity contest rather than an election of the most qualified person to fill the seat.

The next year, Belgard, an Edgewater Park Council member, took on a difficult challenge. She decided to run for the county freeholder board – a body that has been dominated by Republicans for decades. Election night that year was bittersweet. Although we re-elected Herb Conaway and gave Troy Singleton his first elective victory for the General Assembly, and although Aimee made the freeholder race the closest one in recent memory for a Democrat, she came up short.

Congratulations, Steve Lonegan

On Facebook today, Steve Lonegan announced the birth of his first grandchild, a boy. Lonegan’s joy is amplified by the fact that the child was born on his own 58th birthday.

As a grandfather of two (with one more on the way), I can attest that each grandchild is special. But the first one has the extra joy of the addition of “grandparent” in the Résumé of Life.

So lots of congratulations go to Steve and Lorraine Lonegan on their happy moment.

But I have a warning to Mr. Lonegan. Be prepared to take a lot of crap from your conservative colleagues. After all, when Hillary Clinton announced that she was to become a grandmother, pundits immediately questioned her future plans. Margaret Carlson wrote an opinion piece for the Chicago Tribune entitled “Will the title ‘grandma’ cost Hillary Clinton the White House?” Columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin speculated that Chelsea’s baby would “change the dynamic of the campaign.” Other conservatives have posited that the pregnancy was timed to enhance Hillary’s chances in 2016.

Mr. Lonegan, since you know that Republicans eschew hypocrisy, it is only a matter of time before you the same treatment from your colleagues.

Nevertheless, this is your day. I offer you sincere congratulations on your grandfatherhood. I wish you many, many years of free time to enjoy your grandson in your home in Bogota, or wherever else you decide to live.

Aimee Belgard makes 1st round of DCCC’s Red-to-Blue

Aimee BelgardFor the first time in DCCC’s history, women have earned 60% of the coveted Red-to-Blue spots that bring extra benefits for Democratic House contenders – financial, communications, and strategic. But the biggest advantage is the stamp of viability that attracts money. Aimee Belgard, lawyer and BurlCo Freeholder since last year, was endorsed in the first round. Belgard:

“I am honored by the outpouring of support we’ve had here in the 3rd Congressional District. People from Burlington and Ocean Counties have joined our grassroots campaign to end the partisan gridlock in Washington, and stand up for our veterans, seniors and middle-class families,” said Aimee Belgard. “The strength of our campaign has earned us a spot in the Red to Blue program, and that means we’ll have the support and momentum it takes to win in November, and bring common sense solutions to Washington.”

The stakes are very high for serious House races, coming off of an era of the worst Congress ever and House Republicans refusal to govern or even act like grown-ups, change is required, whether it’s uphill climbing (Dems need to net 17 seats) or not.

Belgard’s campaign – endorsed by EMILY’s List last month – was already showing signs of strength last year when Rep. Jon Runyan announced he wouldn’t seek re-election. Runyan, though the kind of big hunky handsome that can help you get elected, was never intellectually prepared to serve the same House as Rep. Rush Holt (though he fit in fine with Boehner). The fact that CD3 is now an open seat turns up the flame on the district and on Belgard.

DCCC’s list also recognizes three districts where Dems are in primary fights – CA31, IA01 & ME02. You have to figure the D-trip is watching NJ’s 12th for the next round of Red-to-Blue. (correction: Rosi writing with a head cold is dangerous. CD12’s not red so Red-to-Blue doesn’t apply). It’s now open too, with Rush Holt’s retirement at the end of his term. That’s 3 open seats in Jersey. In CD1, as things in South Jersey go, an anointing of Don Norcross is expected, which takes the representation of that CD out of the hands of the voters. In CD12, two women – Bonnie Watson Coleman and Linda Greenstein – are angling for frontrunner status, along with Upendra Chivukula.

Also on DCCC’s list today, in the Emerging Races category, is Bill Hughes, challenging Frank LoBiondo in CD2.  

And Now There Are Three

In the upcoming N. J. elections for the U. S. House of Representatives there are now three vacant seats. These Representatives have announced their resignations: Rob Andrews (D-CD1) first elected 1990, Rush Holt (D-CD12) first elected in 1998, and Jon Runyan (R-CD3) first elected 2010. Soon Democrats may take over a Republican seat, retain two Democratic seats with new members, and add two women to our delegation.

This is an unusual opportunity. In several recent past election there have been no vacancies and all incumbents have been re-elected. In a few past elections there has been one vacancy. For two vacancies you have to go back to 2008 – Mike Ferguson (R) succeeded by Leonard Lance (R) and Jim Saxton (R) succeeded by John Adler (D) – and 1996, Robert Torricelli (D) succeeded by Steve Rothman (D) and Dick Zimmer (R) succeeded by Mike Pappas (R). You have to go back to 1992 when there were three or more vacancies. In that election (22 years ago) there were actually four vacancies (Dwyer, Rinaldo, Roe, and Guarini.)

See more about this opportunity below the fold.

Republicans Step Right Up To Run In CD3… Lots of them

Nothing brings people out of the woodwork to run for office like an open seat and the race to replace Jon Runyan in Congress from the 3rd District has many Republicans lining up for party support:

GOP leadership has heard from 17 candidates in Ocean County interested in taking the reins of the congressional seat set to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan. At least one of the individuals, Evesham Mayor Randy Brown, took their name out of the running as late as this week – leaving up to 16 candidates left.

Ocean County leadership interviewed eight candidates this week and is slated to review the remaining hopefuls sometime next week. Burlington officials, the other county that makes up CD 3, are said to have interviewed at least 10 people earlier this month.

What’s Happening Today Tue. 01/21/2014

UPDATE: Tonight’s inauguration bash at Ellis Island has just been canceled, with weather the official reason given – Rosi

Today is Governor Chris Christie’s and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno’s day to celebrate the inauguration of their second term in office. They might feel less celebratory than they originally expected as Bridgegate and Sandy funding matters take their toll. Also the weather often puts a damper on inaugurations. The temperature is expected to be way below freezing in all three of the venue areas with snow in Trenton and Ellis Island. A good time will probably not be had by all.

The schedule of events is:  

  • Morning Service at 8:00am at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

  • Swearing In Ceremony and Inaugural Address at 11:30am at the Trenton War war Memorial. NJTV will cover it live and NJ.com will provide live video. Steve “On Again” Lonegan will offer commentary on the event on CNN. Read excerpts from his speech.

  • The Inaugural Celebration from 7:00pm to 11:30pm at the Great Hall on Ellis Island ($500 per person).

    As an alternate activity you can join Occupy Sandy protesters in the park across from the Trenton State House. They believe that middle class and poor people have not received their fair share of funding, and black and Latino applicants have been disproportionately rejected for resettlement and construction grants.

    Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker in his Borowitz Report (The news reshuffled) reported yesterday, “A support group for mayors bullied by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie held its first meeting today at the Prudential Center arena in Newark … The event was interrupted fifteen minutes in, however, when power to the Prudential Center was abruptly cut off, plunging the arena into darkness.”

    Show us the $70 million: There has been a lot of discussion regarding how much Sandy funding NJ has dispensed to Hoboken. The city mayor Dawn Zimmer on Saturday expressed concern that Hoboken was receiving insufficient Sandy monies and that she was being coerced to approve a development project in order to receive more. Christie spokesman Colin Reed responded that Hoboken has been “approved for nearly $70 million dollars in federal aid.” That’s nice to know, but it is not what is indicated on the NJ Sandy Transparency site. There you find a Sandy Federal Funds Tracker that reports federal funding allotment of disaster relief funds by municipality. For Hoboken the Tracker lists:

  • Community Development Block Grants – EDA Programs – 10/07/013 – 2 businesses – $46,277.88

  • FEMA Individual Assistance – Various Individuals – 09/20/2013 – $ 6,130,000

  • FEMA Public Assistance funds  – Hoboken City, 08/22/2013 – $ 5,880,000

  • FTA Public Transportation Emerg. Relief – Hoboken City Yard and Terminal recovery repairs – 11/04/2013 – $2,141,000

  • Project School Emergency Response to Violence – Hoboken City School District – 12/10/2013 – $48,142.

    The above total is $14,245,419, and this sum represents what is allocated but not necessarily dispensed to recipients yet. It appears spokesperson Colin Reed, the State’s website and even Marc Ferzan yesteday can not keep their numbers straight. There should be a truly transparent site that differentiates between “promised” (something a spokesperson says during a crisis), allocated, and disbursed, and between payments doled out by the feds vs. the State. The transparency promised by Christie is not there, just hype and lack of clarity.

    Unsigned Bills from the previous Legislature: There are plenty of them on Gov. Christie’s desk. He must sign, veto, conditionally veto or pocket veto each one.

    On the 4th anniversary of Citizen’s United: Students affiliated with the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, at 11:00am, will launch a campaign at Rutgers University in New Brunswick and Newark to bring an end to large corporate spending on elections.  

  • What’s Happening Today Mon. 01/06/2014

    Give Him Credit for Persistence: Conservative, Tea Party Republican Steve Lonegan announced last week his eighth political campaign – a hefty number of efforts with a history of only three wins. Now with his last victory eleven years ago this Bergen County Don Quijote moves his quest southward to Burlington, Camden, and Ocean Counties. A quick Wikipedia trip down memory lane:

  • 1995 Elected Mayor of Bogota.

  • 1998 Ran unsuccessfully for Congress (9th CD against Steve Rothman).

  • 1999 Re-elected Mayor of Bogota.

  • 2003 Re-elected Mayor of Bogota.

  • 2005 Ran in a gubernatorial primary finishing 4th.

  • 2009 Ran in a primary against Christie and gained 42% of the vote.

  • 2013 Lost the U.S. Senate Special election by over 10 points to Cory Booker.

  • 2014 Plans to run in CD 3 primary for post vacated by Rep. Runyan.

    During this period he filed an unsuccessful public referendum in Bogota to make English the official language for the municipality. He spent six years as NJ State Director of the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. He also found time to oppose family paid leave, affordable housing mandates, and a gas tax increase.

    During his Senatorial run with little financial or party support he put up a scrappy campaign and garnered substantial press attention. His consistent, clear ideology was both his strength and his weakness. Conservatives and some libertarians loved it, but the other 54% did not buy it.

    With a record of never having won an election higher than the mayoralty, an inflexible personality, devoid of charisma, and an arch-conservative philosophy he now continues his dream against the windmill of CD 3. This is a district which leans Republican (Ocean County), but of its last four Representatives two were Democrats. If he follows his path of pro-extremism and anti-moderation and survives a primary he will once again learn that his is the impossible dream – one not held by the majority of voters. But the fight for the other dream – an “American Dream” held by Democrats – will not be easy. This man supports some repugnant positions, but he sure is persistent and can’t be easily dismissed.

    Christie is correct when he complained recently that State Supreme Court judges “are not accountable to anyone.” However, that is the way it is supposed to be. They are accountable to the N. J. and U.S. constitutions. If the writers of both documents had wanted them accountable to people, they would have placed them in elections. Instead the jurists are provided with long terms to free them from political pressure. They are nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, but once in office they are not supposed to be accountable to a governor (which Christie would like) nor a party, nor voters. Relax Gov. Christie and stop your meddling with tenure, your efforts to “pack” the Court, and your anger when their votes don’t go your way. The system is working just fine.  

    Today: Governor Christie’s ceremonial signing of the Dream Act has been rescheduled for a day later this week. The Assembly will hold a voting session at 1:00pm with some sixty bills on the list. The Senate Budget and Appropriations committee meets at 10:00AM to review 27 bills including one (S2860) which requires municipal police vehicles primarily used for traffic stops be equipped with a mobile video recording system camera. For more information about today’s legislative activities go here.

  • On Cancer in New Jersey

    In 2011, there were 49,080 people in New Jersey who were diagnosed with cancer for the first time.  In the same year, 16,370 New Jerseyans died of the disease while countless others suffered its debilitating effects.

    During his campaign for the United States Senate, Tea Party darling Steve Lonegan made it clear that he opposes improving the overall health of the American people by railing against Obamacare.

    Now Lonegan wants to carpetbag in the Third Congressional District and run for the open seat being vacated by Jon Runyan. Lonegan’s Democratic opponent would be Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard.

    Compare their views on health care:

    When questioned on this topic, Lonegan said, “I hate to see you have cancer, but that’s your problem, not mine.”

    Belgard, on the other hand, has devoted years to cancer fundraising, research, and care as a volunteer executive with the American Cancer Society.

    What type of person do we want in Congress? A man whose responses are flippant and uncaring? Or a woman whose actions speak louder than words?