Lonegan nabs Tea Party nod in NJ primary

Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan (R) has picked up the endorsement of the Tea Party Express for the second time this cycle.

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This time, it’s as a candidate for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District; last year, it was as the Republican nominee for the state's Senate special election. 

The endorsement comes as no surprise, but it may provide a bit of a boost for Lonegan as he battles efforts from the GOP establishment to nominate former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur for the seat.

MacArthur nabbed the endorsements of the two county Republican parties in the district last month, giving him favorable placement on the GOP primary ballot, which typically ensures a win for the candidate — but Lonegan has pledged to fight on.

Republicans are fearful a Lonegan candidacy could cost them the seat, which became more competitive for Democrats with the retirement of Rep. Jon Runyan (R). They’re running Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard and have largely cleared the field for her.

In a statement, Tea Party Express executive director Taylor Budowich noted that Lonegan won the district during the Senate special election last year, despite ultimately losing by about 10 points to Sen. Cory Booker (D).

And Budowich compared Lonegan to Curt Clawson, the businessman that won a special election GOP primary in Florida’s 19th District on Tuesday.

“We were victorious yesterday in the Special Congressional Election with outsider, Curt Clawson, and Lonegan will bring the same kind of energy and fresh approach that is needed in Washington,” Budowich said. 

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