Tag Archive: Rick Shaftan


Democrat. Republican. Liberal. Conservative. Green, Libertarian, Tea Party.

These are labels that the mainstream media apply to politicians. Sometimes they are appropriate. But most of the time they fit like a pair of baggy pants on an anorexic supermodel.

Take our governor. What label fits Chris Christie? Certainly, he’s a Republican, isn’t he? He’s the outgoing chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, delivered a self-serving keynote speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and is a top-tier contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

But not all agree. At least by their definition of “Republican.”  

Don’t you be worrying about Steve Lonegan’s man Rick Shaftan. He’s still got Nick Sacco.

I would say that anybody who employed Rick “Hot Breasts” Shaftan before this happened is in the clear. I presume strategist/pollster Shaftan is good at his job, and I get why people hire him. He’s no dummy. But I have to wonder at a Democrat’s loyalty to Shaftan right now. What message is Nick Sacco sending to the women he represents? The gay people? The Democrat on Wednesday’s ballot?

via The Jersey Journal:

Rick Shaftan, who lost his Lonegan campaign gig after he ridiculed Lonegan opponent Newark Mayor Cory Booker in a lengthy interview last week with political site Talking Points Memo, has made big bucks working for Sacco’s campaigns since the 1990s. And Sacco spokesman Paul Swibinski said that won’t stop.

What a relief. Here I was worried that the mighty righty Rovian captain would be hurting for jingle. But fear not. The brains behind Shutdown Steve Lonegan is the brains behind the Democratic song stylings of Nick Sacco. Look at the choice of words Sacco spokesman Phil Swibinski uses to defend Shaftan’s behavior:

“He [Sacco] wishes that Rick had never made those comments. “They don’t sound like him … I’ve never known Rick to judge anybody based on their sexuality.”

Really. Let me clue you in: The Lonegan campaign has been one long series of clever innuendo implying that Cory Booker is gay, and that there’s something wrong with that.

  • That Lonegan “likes being a guy,” implying Booker is something less than one.

  • If Booker gets a manicure or pedicure (as was reported that the night owl sometimes does at 3am) it’s an unmanly fetish.

  • That it’s weird if Booker “won’t refute” gay rumors (that they pump out)

    It’s all very passive-aggressive. Just the kind of thing a clever strategist would know how to spoon out: Just enough to excite Tea Partiers askeered of teh gays, not so directly that it’s not deniable. Homophobic crap, no less serious because it’s cleverly framed. And Sacco’s never known Shaftan to judge anybody based on their sexuality? Bull. Sacco knows exactly who’s been framing all that homophobic innuendo. Seriously. Keep the guy if you feel you should, but don’t play dumb.

    Saw this coming, right? After the Sacco team’s chat with Jersey Journal, Swibinski called the paper back to insist Sacco “strongly supports Cory Booker”.

  • Steve Lonegan campaign gets caught being itself & somebody gets canned

    Screen shot 2011-02-25 at 5.37.34 AMSo, tonight, in the span of a very few hours, the Steve Lonegan for Senate campaign lost its shit.

    It began shortly after 5:22pm when Talking Points Memo posted Lonegan strategist Rick Shaftan’s answer to why Lonegan seems to be gaining on Cory Booker. Shaftan tells TPM’s Hunter Walker it must be because voters think Booker’s Twitter convo with Oregon stripper Lynsie Lee was “like what a gay guy would say”. Doesn’t even occur to him somebody might talk to her like a human being. Then Shaftan says this:

    “It was just weird. I mean, to me, you know, hey, if he said, ‘Hey, you got really hot breasts man, I’d love to suck on them.’ Then like, yeah, cool. But like, he didn’t say that.”

    Yeah. Couple hours later, Shaftan issues a non-apology apology (since edited), followed by dozens of dumb-cluck comments from supporters who hadn’t even read what this was about.

    Then, in the same hour, Lonegan tells TPM (via spokesman) he’s gonna can Shaftan: “Mr. Shaftan’s comments are not reflective of my views or that of my campaign. His comments are distasteful and offensive, and his contract as a vendor for my campaign will be terminated immediately.”

    Except that it’s 100% reflective of his campaign. And of Lonegan. It’s not the first time Lonegan himself passive-aggressively implies Booker’s gay, not a real man. Not the first time mind-numbingly offensive drivel issued from his mouth. Dead bodies clogging the Passaic River in Newark.

    In the debate, Lonegan complained Booker called him “Tea Party,” which as AFP’s top guy in Jersey, who cheers the government shutdown, who owes his political life to the Koch brothers, he absolutely is.

    Because first you try to distance yourself from the Tea Party you so completely represent. And then you try to distance yourself from the guy who has provided your guts and your brains for years of your political life.

    But that’s Lonegan’s level. In just hours, Sarah Palin arrives to campaign with Lonegan. She’s his level, too. Suck on that.

    What’s Happening Today Wed. 10/02/2013

    Booker vs. Lonegan and the election schedule that only Christie could concoct:: With exactly two weeks to go, October 16 is the Special Election date for the U. S. Senate race. Gov. Christie made it particularly “special” by holding it on a Wednesday and not on General Election day. How convenient! We continue to miss Sen. Frank Lautenberg. We wont miss current Sen. Jeff Chiesa (R), but don’t be surprised if Christie appoints him to another position.  

    Now we have the 13th public poll on the race: The Monnmouth Universiity poll which has Booker at 53% and Lonegan at 40% – a +13 point advantage. Previous recent polls according to Real Clear Politics: Quinnippiac (9/22) Booker +12, Kean University (9/19) Booker +19, Richard Stockton College (9/21) Booker +26 and Rutgers-Eagleton (9/09) Booker +35. The race has tightened up, Booker maintains a healthy lead (no “margin of error” concerns), but in this weird election with low turnout predicted it is important that we all vote and help GOTV or else face something akin to the apocalypse.

    Republican candidate Steve Lonegan has been in a persistent and somewhat successful attack mode. There were high spirits at his classic 1938 Bendix Diner event yesterday in Hasbrouck Heights. With some 70 attendees, it opened with a prayer which included a blessing for “marriages between one man and one woman.” Texas Governor Rick Perry, accompanied by plainclothes Texas Rangers, spoke briefly about guns (good) and ACA (bad: “It’s felonious”) and lauded Texas and Lonegan. Steve Lonegan then launched into his stump speech talking concisely, spiritedly, and bluntly about his conservative principles. On the government shutdown he said, “It’s a little inconvenient but not so much so.”

    Senior Lonegan Advisor Rick Shaftan spent a few minutes with me enumerating all the perceived bad points about Cory Booker. When I asked Shaftan twice why he thought Lonegan would win, the four-word response each time was “He is a conservative.” Apparently that’s sufficient. One good point about Shaftan: he likes Joey Novick, but then again so do a lot of people.

    Two attendees saw a truck in the parking lot painted with “1-800-got-junk,” under which they affixed a sign reading, “YES! Obamacare.” Perhaps an indication of their high spirits, enthusiasm and confidence. Also in attendance were Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39), Bergen County Exec. Kathleen Donovan and Senator Michael Doherty (R-23).

    NJ Court sets up schedule for the State’s application to stay the Summary Judgment order, set to be effective October 21, in the M. E. case: October 1: the State must file its case; October 4: the Plaintiff’s opposition to the stay must be filed; October 7: the State may file its opposition if it chooses. There will be no oral arguments.  

    Pubic Schedules (Your opportunity to support or heckle)

    Buono/Silva gubernatorial campaign: No public events.

    Christie/Guadagno gubernatorial campaign: Chris Christie: 4:30pm, Groundbreaking ceremony at Rowan University College of Engineering, Glassboro; 6:15pm, addresses the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s Eagle Awards Dinner, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick.

    U.S. Senate nominee Cory Booker: 6:00pm, Reception at the home of Carol and Andy Golden with Rep. Rush Holt, Princeton, for more information go here; 9:00pm, “Run with Cory,” Palmer Square, Princeton.

    U. S. senate candidate Steve Lonegan: 6:30pm, fundraiser, High Point Brewing Company, 22 Park Place, Butler.

    Open thread: Add an event taking place today of interest to our readers, or email items for this column the evening before to BillOrr563@gmail.com

    New Cory Booker TV spot: “Done”

    The Steve Lonegan for Senate campaign has leaked what they say is an internal poll showing him just 6 points behind Cory Booker. Internal polls made public are often self-laudatory boosters for the campaign, particularly losing campaigns. So, I think 6 points is highly unlikely. Monmouth University’s polling outfit puts Booker’s lead at 13 points (down from 16 points twice this summer, but with the difference falling within the margin of error). Q-poll a week ago put Booker up by 12. Both seem more reliable than the Lonegan campaign source.

    But the race, as expected, is tightening at least a little. Booker’s latest ad, “Done,” fairly depicts the GOP candidate by Lonegan’s own description of himself – “right-wing radical,” who would privatize major functions of the government, ban abortions, and side with the government shutdown Tea Party squad. “New Jersey,” Booker says, “We’re better than that.”

    Lonegan consultant Rick Shaftan tweeted (in all caps) that this ad means Booker is getting “DESPERATE”.

    What do you think, Blue Jersey?

    Steve Lonegan for Senate tries to rescue candidate from racist campaign tweet


    The tweet read, “#breaking just leaked – Cory Booker’s foreign policy debate prep notes,” and below it was a map of heavily African-American Newark. Scrawled over the map in different places was, “West Africa, Guyana, Portugal, Brazil.” Another annotation, pointing to Newark, read, “Middle East,” followed by “Afghanistan, Pakistan, plus Bangladesh and Trinidad.”

    It went up. And then it quickly came down. Before it did, Politico snapped this screen shot. It came from the @LoneganForNJ Twitter account, which has an embarrassing 85 followers (one of which is @BlueJersey).

    Running the damage control is campaign consultant and Lonegan frontman Rick Shaftan. Playing the Steve’s-more-wholesome-and-gooder-than-our-staff-or-consultants card, Lonegan said “didn’t find it funny or reflective of the way he thinks and asked that it be taken down immediately”.

    I love it when these people are simply … themselves.

    Racist tweet Steve Lonegan campaign

    Right-wing unsettled by tomorrow’s #NJUnion Rally

    First of all, what’s Rick Shaftan, consultant/pollster to far-right candidates like Steve Lonegan, doing trolling at the NJ Against Chris Christie facebook group (43,000 members)? Check it out: (h/t ken bank)

    Shaftan Screen shot

    Dude, what’s up with the sneering? the name-calling?

    Tomorrow’s rally is going to be big. That’s going to be bad for the conservatives, whose argument depends on pitting New Jerseyans against each other, and getting non-union workers to resent union workers. Wisconsin was evidence of a pendulum swing of ordinary people in defense of fair bargaining. That swing could happen here in Trenton tomorrow noon, even though our governor’s spent a year making himself famous for propagandizing public workers. We’ll see.

    Don’t let Shaftan plant the idea that tomorrow’s rally will be anything but big, successful and peaceful. Madison was. The city-to-city rallies have been (counter-rallies, small). That’s got to be a challenge for the right. They’d like nothing more than trouble to discredit us. That’s why we now know from the recording made when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thought he was talking to his benefactor David Koch, that Walker considered infiltrating the peaceful rally with troublemakers, but ditched it because it might not work (not because it was wrong). The call, a prank, showed Walker up as an irresponsible, dangerous fool. In fact, Madison Police Chief Noble Wray had some serious questions for Governor Walker today. Wray:

    I find it very unsettling and troubling that anyone would consider creating safety risks for our citizens and law enforcement officers. Our department works hard dialoging with those who are exercising their First Amendment right, those from both sides of the issue, to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure they can demonstrate safely.

    This is insidious, and in-bred. Koch brothers’ money got Walker elected (why he jumped at the call). Chris Christie (out of the state again) backs Walker. The Kochs bankroll Americans for Prosperity (AFP); Steve Lonegan runs it in New Jersey. Shaftan was the strategist for Lonegan’s GOP primary campaign against Christie. This is all in the family. It’s a family that has a lot to lose if tomorrow’s rally is big, successful and peaceful. Let’s make it just that.

    #NJUnion #NJSolidarity See you there.  

    Top Ten Moments of the 2009 GOP Primary

    “Christie might as well propose a law requiring the rivers to run with whiskey and the mountains to be made of ice cream.”

    Star Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine, commenting on the absurdity of Chris Christie’s tax and spending proposals.

    If politics is theater, than the 2009 Republican gubernatorial primary was akin to a Tony Award winning show on Broadway.  Since the silly season accelerated last February with Chris Christie’s formal entrance into the race, several moments stick out as worthy of inclusion on a list of the Top Ten Moments in the 2009 GOP Primary.

    Click on the headline to read the list, and feel free to offer favorite moments of your own.

    Wingnuts v. wingnuts v. RINOs: NJGOP wars heating up

    Wingnuts are forming their own circular firing squad within the NJGOP as libertarian wingnuts are squaring off against paleocon wingnuts over Steve Lonegan’s Bourbonesque plan to increase taxes on the poor and cut taxes on the rich.  In a column posted on PolitickerNJ.com libertarian wingnut and professional loser Murray Sabrin threw down the gauntlet when he denounced Lonegan’s tax plan for raising taxes on low income earners.  Sabrin and Lonegan, who shared the same campaign manager Rick Shaftan, were once political allies but split last year after Lonegan refused to support Sabrin in the NJGOP primary for US Senate and instead endorsed Sabrin’s rival State Senator “Jersey Joe” Pennacchio.  Ironically “Jersey Joe” betrayed Lonegan this year by endorsing Chris Christie.  

    On a similar note tomorrow night may well be the grand climax (no pun intended) of the Lonegan campaign when “Joe the Deadbeat Plumber” comes to New Jersey to sell his book and campaign for Steve, and hopefully raise enough money to buy him a hairpiece that fits before the televised debates with Chris Christie.  Joe’s appearance is no freebie, however, as PolitickerNJ.com reports he will be amply compensated by the Lonegan campaign.  Our tax dollars at work.

    Food fight on the right: Web 2.0 edition

    If you’ve been enjoying the Republican Primary campaign for Governor via traditional media, you’re in for a treat.  The food fight has spilled over to the intertubes.  First, it’s facebook surrogates gone wild between.  Here we have an exchange between Lonegan Consultant Rick Shafton and Christie brother Todd Christie:

    On April 6, Todd Christie sent Shaftan a private message on Facebook.com, writing “Can’t wait to dance on your political grave.”

    Three days later, Shaftan responded, “Lighten up dude. This is nothing compared to what’s coming up. It just gets better!”

    Todd Christie wrote back with what Shaftan took as an ominous message:  “This is fun for you messing with peoples lives. Payback comes in many forms,,,,at any time. Enjoy.”

    Ah family. Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison talked about the difference when it’s family involved in a situation:

    “Typically what a candidate can do in this situation is fire that staff member and distance themselves from that person’s name and therefore abdicate any responsibility,” she said.  “It’s really tricky to fire your brother.”

    Even though the apparent timeline shows Todd Christie making first contact, the Christie campaign is of course placing blame:

    “This is ridiculous – a paid campaign staffer initiating and then purposefully provoking an opponent’s family member in an online chat, and then forwarding the exchange to the media.  This is nothing more than a distraction from the real issues of the campaign,” he said.

    So by real issues they mean talking about the monitor contracts?  Anyway, they didn’t stop at facebook because we now have Lonegan needling Christie on Twitter.  After their teabagging together in Morristown, Lonegan sent out this tweet:

    Chris Christie booed in his own backyard at the Morristown Tea Party

    – Steve Lonegan (@lonegan)

    I don’t think Christie will care that he was booed if he wins the primary, but it’s still providing some good entertainment as they learn to incorporate technology into their campaigns.