The Campaign Spot

What Steve Lonegan Must Do in the Next Two Months

Credit where it’s due: Yesterday in New Jersey’s primary elections, Republican Steve Lonegan received more votes statewide (102,481) than the Democrats’ second-place finisher Frank Pallone (69,311) and third-place finisher Rush Holt (59,922).

Of course, Newark mayor/media superstar/Silicon Valley schmoozer Cory Booker ran away with the Democratic primary with 207,891 votes and is an extremely heavy favorite for the October 16 general election.

But Lonegan can do some good for his causes, even if he doesn’t win the general election. Almost from the moment he became mayor in 2006, Booker rode a wave of glowing media coverage that emphasized small but vivid gestures (“He shovels the city sidewalks himself!” “He rescued a neighbor in a burning building!”) and largely overlooked the fact that Newark’s economy and quality of life largely remain the same. Stories of his failure to disclose certain legally required financial agreements broke too late to impact the primary; Booker broke a loud public pledge and his media fans shrugged. He’s been anointed the next Democratic-party superstar; he appears on Morning Joe almost as often as Scarborough and Mika; he’s appeared on the Tonight Show, Oprah’s show, etc.

A signficant reason that Barack Obama was able to generate the messianic coverage he enjoyed in 2007 and 2008 was the fact that A) he didn’t face a competitive opponent in his 2004 Senate race, meaning he coasted into office with 70 percent of the vote, and B) no one had done significant opposition research or poked holes in his heroic narrative. Republicans cannot afford to give the Democrats’ rising stars free passes to statewide office.

Lonegan is highly unlikely to win. But he can make sure the state — and the nation — know how modest Booker’s record as mayor really is.

Most Popular


Is Journalism School Worth It?

Clarence Darrow dropped out of law school after just a year, figuring that he would learn what he needed to know about legal practice faster if he were actually doing it than sitting in classrooms. (Today, that wouldn't be possible, thanks to licensing requirements.) The same thing is true in other fields -- ... Read More

Wednesday Links

Today is ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli: Here's some history, a documentary, and a Lego re-enactment. How DNA Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions: Labs today can identify people with DNA from just a handful of cells, but a handful of cells can easily migrate. The 19th-century art of ... Read More

Microscopic Dots. Let’s Look at Them.

Stuart E. Eizenstat has written a big book on the Carter presidency. (Eizenstat was Carter’s chief domestic-policy adviser. He also had a substantial hand in foreign affairs.) I have reviewed the book for the forthcoming NR. Eizenstat tells the story of a meeting between President Carter and Andrei Gromyko, the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Alfie and Haleigh and Charlie and Jahi

When British hospital officials tried to pull the plug on 23-month-old toddler Alfie Evans on Monday night in arrogant defiance of his parents' wishes, many Americans took to Twitter to count their blessings that they live in a country that would not allow such tyranny. "Stories like Alfie Evans make me ... Read More