Lonegan will run for battleground N.J. House seat

Republican Steve Lonegan, who lost an October special election to now-Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), will run for an open House seat this year.

Lonegan told the Star-Ledger that he'll run for retiring Rep. Jon Runyan's (R-N.J.) seat. The race promises to be one of the most competitive in the country.

Lonegan is the former mayor of Bogota, which is just across the river from New York City. But he'll be running in a district in the southern part of the state just east of Philadelphia. He told NJTV previously that he's purchasing a home in the 3rd District.

Lonegan said his statewide campaigns will help him win in a new part of the state.

“I have the hottest donor list in the country. My name ID there is over 90 percent. I have a terrific campaign team that’s ready to rock, is experienced and seasoned," Lonegan said. "I have coordinators in every town in the district, in every church and synagogue.”

In addition to running against Booker, Lonegan also challenged now-Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the 2009 GOP governor's primary. In both cases, he lost by a little more than 10 points.

Despite those reasonably strong performances, Lonegan hasn't exactly endeared himself to the GOP establishment, which might be wary of running such a conservative firebrand in a swing district.

Other potential GOP candidates for the seat include state Assemblyman David Wolfe and Berkeley Township Council President James Byrnes. Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard has rallied support for the Democratic nomination.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | January 3