The front-runner for the Republican nomination for New Jersey's open U.S. Senate seat told a tea party audience Monday that young voters were "indoctrinated" against the United States of 40 years ago.
Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan told the Morristown Tea Party Org at a rally that older voters and tea party members will be the ones who decide the winner of the Oct. 16 special election, NJ.com reported. He said those voters are the ones who remember past decades and "want to keep [the United States] that way." Lonegan, who has headed New Jersey's chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers' group, is facing off against physician Alieta Eck in the Aug. 13 special GOP primary election. The elections were called by Gov. Chris Christie (R) after the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) in June.
NJ.com reports that Lonegan also dived into a series of issues that have been tea party staples in recent years.
"It's older people who are going to be voting," he told an audience member who asked how he'd reach young voters. "Don't be so disturbed that it's more older people who remember what America was 40 years ago and want to keep it that way, rather than the younger people who have been indoctrinated."
He gave the conservatives and constitutionalists in the crowd plenty to applaud. He said American freedoms are "under assault like never before." He criticized what he called the "commie ... I mean common core curriculum," a federal effort to standardize educational requirements. He said Obama's reluctance to approve the Keystone Pipeline System, to bring oil from Canada to the United States, is "destroying our access to real, affordable energy."
Lonegan, one of the most conservative politicians in New Jersey, has quickly become the establishment-backed Republican Senate candidate. While on the outs with the more moderate party establishment in his unsuccessful bids for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2005 and 2009, he quickly garnered a series of endorsements in the Senate race. The endorsements came after top Republicans declined to run in the fast-paced election.
Lonegan's candidacy is helped by his two previous statewide runs and the network he built running AFP in New Jersey. The former Bogota mayor has taken a series of positions to the right of most Garden State Republicans, including opposing federal aid for Hurricane Sandy relief last year unless other funding projects were taken out of the package.
On the Democratic side Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Rush Holt and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver are facing off for the nomination. Booker has been leading the Democratic field and Lonegan in recent polls.