Home>Campaigns>Lonegan says he has ‘grave concerns’ about proposed Morris Republican convention rules

Steve Lonegan. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Lonegan says he has ‘grave concerns’ about proposed Morris Republican convention rules

Senate candidate questions integrity of voting machines used at convention

By Joey Fox, February 21 2023 3:49 pm

Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota who is running for an open State Senate seat this year, said today in a letter to Morris GOP chairwoman Laura Marie Ali that he has “grave concerns” about election integrity at this year’s Morris County Republican convention, where he will compete for the county line.

Of particular concern, Lonegan said, is the use of electronic voting machines without a full paper audit trail, as well as the potential ability of party counsel and other party leaders to learn how individual county committeemembers voted. Both concerns are tied to proposed convention rules, which Lonegan offered to discuss with party leaders before they’re adopted.

“Morris County can and should set the standard for election integrity rather than nonchalantly adopting rules and procedures that Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Phil Murphy would be proud of and that would make Hudson County Democrats blush,” Lonegan said.

The letter cites a recent case in Monmouth County in which ES&S voting machines double-counted a small number of votes across four municipalities; Morris County uses ES&S machines as well. It also notes that the 2022 Morris Republican convention was something of a disaster, with long delays in voting that forced the party to hold runoffs a week after the convention.

Lonegan connected his concerns about the proposed convention rules to broader national fights over election integrity and voter fraud – fights which, of course, culminated in former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.

“Republicans have long labored for election integrity and have made it a part of our national platform,” he said. “Without fair and clean elections relying upon the secrecy of the ballot and the rights of candidates to fully observe the election process, Americans who cherish individual liberties will lose any hope of combatting the ever-growing power of the Leviathan.”

Lonegan will face off against Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Wantage) in the June primary for the 24th district, which includes all of Sussex County and parts of Morris and Warren Counties. Sussex Republicans don’t have a county line and Warren County is only a tiny portion of the district, so the Morris convention could play an outsized role in determining the eventual nominee. 

Whoever wins the already-intense primary is a lock to succeed retiring Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Franklin) in the solidly Republican district.

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