In a new ad, Parker Space uses a clip from a Fox News interview where Donald Trump calls Steve Lonegan a loser and a loudmouth.
The ad, “Loser Lonegan,” was unveiled before tomorrow’s Morris County Republican convention. Space, an assemblyman since 2013, faces Lonegan in a bid for an open State Senate seat in the 24th legislative district.
The 2016 ad shows Trump, then a presidential candidate, slamming Lonegan for being a failed candidate for multiple offices. At the time, Lonegan was backing Ted Cruz for president and pursuing a move to deny Trump the nomination at the Republican National Convention.
Script: “(Narrator) President Trump talks about perennial political candidate Steve Lonegan. (Trump) I’ve known Lonegan for 25 years in New Jersey. The guy’s a loud mouth guy. (Narrator) Lonegan’s lost seven elections (Trump): He’s always lost. He’s a loser. He’s always lost. He’s never gotten anywhere. Check his record. (Narrator): Lonergan raised taxes, spending, and debt. Hired illegal immigrants, took bailouts from Trenton. Steve Lonegan, tax raiser. Fake conservative. (Trump): What a loser. What a loser.”
A similar ad version was used to defeat Lonegan in a 2018 Republican congressional primary in New Jersey’s 5th district. Space had backed Lonegan in that primary over the winner, John McCann. Lonegan wanted to challenge freshman Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff).
In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Lonegan argued that Trump “sounds far much more like a left-wing liberal Democrat, not even a moderate Democrat.”
“And what you’re seeing is the public reacting to the irresponsible, reckless irrationality of Donald Trump, his instability, his crazy rhetoric,” Lonegan said. “The threat to the Republican Party is Trump.”
Later, Lonegan became a Trump supporter.
Lonegan served three terms as a mayor in a Democratic-leaning town in Bergen County. He was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate against Cory Booker in 2013, sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2005 and 2009, ran for Congress in 1998, 2014, and 2018, and for a Bergen County State Senate seat in 1997.
Last year, Space announced his retirement from the legislature, saying he wanted to focus on his business, Space Farms Zoo & Museum in Sussex County. Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, moved to Sussex last year to seek Space’s Assembly seat.
But after Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho unexpectedly announced his retirement, Space and Lonegan jumped into the race.
Space and his running mates for Assembly, Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia and Chester Mayor Mike Inganamort, also unveiled a new microsite, LoserLonegan.com. The site assails two Republican Assembly candidates, Lafayette school board member Josh Aikens and Warren County Commissioner Jason Sarnoski, for voting to increase property taxes.
The site depicts Lonegan, Aikens and Sarnoski as wind-up toys. Aikens and Sarnowski are not formally aligned with Lonegan.