Ask long-time supporters of Steve Lonegan what they admire most about the New Jersey Republican candidate for Senate, and they will roll out a long and copious list of achievements. This includes the successful campaigns he led against illegal state bonding and a proposed $38 billion toll hike. But the one that stands out the most may be the demise of cap and trade in New Jersey. These anti-energy emission restrictions, which were implemented as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) under Gov. Jon Corzine, were repealed under Gov. Chris Christie back in May 2011.
While serving as the state director of the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), Lonegan played an instrumental role in moving public opinion. This had national ramifications. Lisa Jackson, who served as the New Jersey director of the Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Corzine before becoming President Obama’s EPA chief, was the primary architect of RGGI.
“By ripping out the roots here in New Jersey, we had a major impact nationally,” Lonegan told TAS. “New Jersey was being used as a model for ‘cap and trade’ in the rest of country.”
At a time when even the United Nations is walking back alarmist claims about global warming that do not square with scientific observations, the facts and evidence work to Lonegan’s advantage on energy policy. They also contrast sharply with the views of Hollywood liberals who are holding a fundraiser today for Cory Booker in California. (See the full story in today’s online edition.)
This provides an opening for the Lonegan campaign. Matt Damon, one of the co-hosts for today’s Hollywood fundraiser, recently starred in an anti-fracking propaganda film that was financed in part by funding from overseas. The Heritage Foundation has the low-down on the support “Promised Land” received from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The film thankfully bombed at the box office. But the left continues to peddle falsified science in an effort to scuttle innovative drilling techniques used to access natural gas.
Lonegan may ask Booker about the connection between his Hollywood benefactors and the overseas entities who have made a concerted effort to undermine American energy independence.
Despite poll numbers that show Booker maintaining a double-digit lead over Lonegan, Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, sees an opportunity for a major upset. He’s been keeping careful tabs on the “urban legends” that Booker has used to sell the press on the idea that he is an advocate for inner-city renewal. Apparently the Newark mayor is big on imaginary friends.
There’s more. While Booker has repeatedly denied working for a law firm that held millions of dollars in government contracts, the New York Post has reported that tax returns “show the exact opposite.” Booker and his operatives attribute this to “an accounting error.” Booker has also become the subject of a fraud and racketing suit that was filed earlier this month.
So will those polls change?
Hardcore supporters who took part in a fundraiser for Lonegan at Leonardo’s II restaurant in Lawrenceville, N.J. point to history. The eatery is located just few miles from the state capital of Trenton where General George Washington launched a surprise attack on the Hessian garrison after crossing the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776. The battle resulted in a major victory for Washington’s army that reignited the American Revolution.
The thinking here is that New Jersey could serve as the platform for another unexpected victory against an abusive government. But while Johann Rall, the Hessian commander in Trenton, knew he was trouble, Booker seems smug, detached, and unconcerned on the campaign trail.