Rand Paul to campaign for Cory Booker opponent

September 3, 2013

Updated at 12:37 p.m.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will campaign next week for New Jersey GOP Senate nominee Steve Lonegan, Lonegan's campaign announced Tuesday. The move will bring Paul into the home state of Gov. Chris Christie (R), with whom he has clashed over national security issues.

Paul will appear with Lonegan on Sept. 13, but Christie will not. The governor explained Tuesday that he will be away for a long weekend with his wife to celebrate her 50th birthday.

"In a choice between Mary Pat Christie and Rand Paul, it's no choice for me, So I'll be with Mary Pat," Christie said.

Lonegan, a conservative activist who holds positions that align with Paul's, is running against Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) in the October special election. Booker is the overwhelming front-runner in the race.

Lonegan recently said he is "more on the side" of Paul in his spat with Christie over national security. And like Paul, Lonegan opposes U.S. military action in Syria.

Christie endorsed Lonegan last month, though the two are far from close allies. Lonegan, the former Bogota mayor, lost to Christie in the 2009 governor's race.

A senior Paul aide said Paul's campaign team had reached out to Christie's team in the hopes of setting up a meeting between the two Republicans when Paul is in New Jersey. But because Christie will be away for the weekend, that won't happen.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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