Two North Jersey Republican congressional candidates are quarreling over a slogan, bringing back memories of a similar spat last March.
John McCann and Steven Lonegan are feuding over the slogan “Republicans for the President’s Agenda,” which originally appeared as McCann’s slogan for Sussex and Warren counties on the New Jersey Department of State’s Division of Elections’ unofficial list of House candidates.
Lonegan’s slogans for all four of the counties in the fifth congressional district are listed as pending.
In a leaked email published by the New Jersey Globe in mid-March, Bob Taschler, a Bergen County Republican activist, said Lonegan would use the slogan on his nominating petitions and encouraged others to do the same.
Pamela Herbig, Constance Hernandez and Joan Barnwell, three Passaic County freeholder candidates with ties to Lonegan filed nominating petitions with the slogan in question. Hernandez and Herbig appeared with Lonegan at a March 27 fundraiser in West Milford.
Though he declined to comment further, Lonegan’s campaign manager, Mike Proto, said the slogan was his candidate’s
“I can assure you that the slogan belongs to us,” Proto said.
McCann disagreed, saying the claim was “more lies again from lose again, lie again, Lonegan.”
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office, which may handle disputes like these in certain cases, declined to comment on the matter.
The conflict is reminiscent of one that happened last March. Then, Bergen GOP chairman Paul DiGaetano and Essex GOP chairman Al Barlas, feuded over the slogan “Republicans for Responsible Government.”
DiGaetano let the slogan’s trademark lapse, and Barlas took up ownership of the trademark.
Barlas said that though he had engaged in discussions with McCann, speaking on behalf of the Bergen County Republican Organization (BCRO), to transfer ownership of the slogan back to the organization, he had not heard back from them recently. Signatures of Bergen County officials were still missing on the transfer documents, he said.
But on March 28, BCRO executive director Giancarlo Ghione sent an email to Bergen County Republicans saying they would be using that slogan, which he said the organization had used for decades. McCann even used the slogan for Bergen County when filing his nominating petitions.
The only problem? Barlas says he still owns the trademark.