Steve Lonegan and Parker Space are making it clear that in the Republican primary for State Senate this year, every punch will be met with a counterpunch.
Lonegan launched his bid to succeed Steve Oroho today by suggesting that Space was a do-nothing lawmaker since becoming an assemblyman in 2013. Space responded by calling Lonegan a loser and a carpetbagger.
In round three of today’s campaign, Lonegan wonders if Space is “a caricature thought up by leftists to taint the GOP brand?”
“His brand of Confederate-meme ‘conservatism’ will taint not only the good people of the 24th legislative district but the entire Republican brand in New Jersey. North of the Mason-Dixon line, does anyone know of another elected Republican who wants the title ‘Senator’ who wraps himself in the Confederate flag the way Parker does?” Lonegan asked. “That kind of nonsense doesn’t fly anymore South of the Mason-Dixon line.”
Lonegan, who won three mayoral races in a Democratic-leaning Bergen County town, also hit back at Space over attacks that he has lost seven races for higher office.
“Parker Space never lost anything because he’s never fought a battle worth losing,” said Lonegan. “Can anyone imagine Parker Space stepping up to take on Cory Booker? He doesn’t pack the gear.”
He pushed back on criticism from Space that he’s lost a U.S. Senate race, two gubernatorial primaries, three congressional bids, and a 1997 State Senate contest in a safe Democratic district.
“Parker Space attacks me for taking on seven tough fights and for coming up short. That’s funny coming from a man who has lost thousands of votes in Trenton. In fact, he loses most every time he bothers to show up in Trenton. I’ve won bigger battles as a citizen activist than he’s won as a legislator,” said Lonegan. “What does that tell you about him?
Lonegan also took a shot at the Assembly candidates running on Space’s ticket, Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia and Chester Mayor Mike Inganamort.
“Instead of attacking me, Parker Space needs to take a breath and figure out a message that his team can run on,” he said. His woke running mates are wrapping themselves in the LGBTQ Pride flag while he literally wears the Confederate flag on his body every day of his life. Talk about conflicted.”
In the contest for two open Assembly seats in the very Republican 24th, Lonegan is backing Lafayette Board of Education President Josh Aikens and Warren County Commissioner Jason Sarnoski, although the three have not teamed up as a single slate.
Alternatively, Lonegan called out Space for occupying “a safe space in politics, voting with the pack, saddling the taxpayers of Sussex County with a solar scandal that cost them tens of millions and will continue to cost them, their children, and their grandchildren millions – year after year”
“Parker pretends to know what American conservatism and the conservative movement is all about. I’ve written a book about it. That’s one more than Parker read,” Lonegan alleged. “The last congressional candidate he supported was liberal Democrat Josh Gottheimer – and he’ll answer for that before the Sussex County GOP Committee on March 9th.”
Lonegan also rejected the idea that he was a carpetbagger after moving to Sussex County late last year to run for the State Assembly seat Space had planned to relinquish.
“Before he starts calling my wife and I ‘carpetbaggers’, he needs to check with his teammates to see which one lives out of state as much as in,” Lonegan said. “When we moved to Sussex County, my wife and I were welcomed as neighbors by Senator Steve Oroho and his wife. That’s good enough for me. Maybe Parker and his wife should live up to that example.”