BURLINGTON – Congressional hopeful Steve Lonegan says it’s “pretty clear” to him that his opponent in the GOP CD 3 primary gained momentum simply because he has deep pockets.
Lonegan, speaking to about a dozen supporters inside a Burlington diner, took jabs at his Republican challenger a day ahead of the Tuesday primary. Voters will decide whether to support him or tap former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur as a potential successor to outgoing U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-3) in the right-leaning congressional district.
Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, said he would represent the people who supported his campaign and declared he could do it without GOP establishment support.
“It’s all about the money,” he said, referring to MacArthur grabbing the endorsements of establishment Republican organizations in Ocean and Burlington counties.
“I’m running a grassroots campaign against a guy who put millions of dollars into his own race,” he said. “I’m going to Washington D.C. [to represent] your values.”
The congressional hopeful told a friendly crowd he would deliver “bold leadership” and work to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m not going to compromise,” he said. “We’re going to listen to the conservative grassroots movement.”
Both men are approaching an end to the hotly contested race after months of sparring that included Lonegan calling his opponent a “monster” and MacArthur’s campaign referring to the former Bogota mayor as the “perennial candidate” for losing nearly a half dozen political races over the years.
And while a May poll showed MacArthur holding a double-digit lead over Lonegan, the former U.S. Senate hopeful who won the district against Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he’s optimistic about tomorrow’s results.
“We have good momentum,” he said.
Lonegan’s pre-primary diner tour is scheduled to include six stops across the district and will conclude at 6 p.m. with a stop at Lavallette Pizza in Lavallette.
MacArthur is expected to deliver remarks at his campaign headquarters in Bayville sometime this afternoon.
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