Today’s volleyball match between the Republican candidates for State Senate in the 24th district begins with Parker Space responding to Steve Lonegan’s criticism that “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.”
“It’s good to see Steve Lonegan is so offended by my Dukes of Hazzard tattoo that it took him six years to say something about it,” Space said. “Newsflash for Steve: The people of Sussex County have re-elected me three times since – which is three more elections than Steve has won in the last 20+ years.”
Space pointed to a now-deleted tweet from Lonegan in October 2017 after reports of his confederate flag tattoo became a campaign issue.
“Five and a half years ago, Steve was ‘proud’ to stand with me when I was being attacked. Shortly thereafter, I returned the favor by endorsing him because I wrongly thought he could give Rep. Josh Gottheimer a run for his money,” Space said. “Now, all of a sudden, Steve wants to accuse me of racism when he knows that isn’t true?! What a phony!”
Space accused Lonegan of bringing Bergen County-style “back-stabbing and flip-flopping to Sussex County.
“Local residents know me, and they appreciate that while I may not be politically correct, I am authentic and honest,” stated Space. “If Steve’s plan is to parrot far-left attack points against me, he can go ahead. I plan to run on my record as a proven conservative while pointing out how Steve is good at talking like a conservative, but not governing like one.”
Lonegan, a former three-term Bogota mayor, announced yesterday that he would seek the open Senate seat in a Sussex-Morris-Warren district that is arguably the most conservative in the state. The seat unexpectedly opened up when Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho decided to retire after 16 years in the State Senate.
Space, whose decision to retire from the Assembly sparked Lonegan’s interest in running in the 24th, re-entered the 2023 campaign as a Senate candidate the day Oroho announced he was not running again.