GOP Rival Lonegan to Cory Booker: Newark 'Big Black Hole' Full of Corpses

GOP Rival Lonegan to Cory Booker: Newark 'Big Black Hole' Full of Corpses

Republican candidate Steve Lonegan told the audience during Wednesday night’s final New Jersey Senate debate against Newark Mayor Cory Booker that Newark’s budget was a “big black hole” and its Passaic River full of murder victims.

The Star-Ledger reports that Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, NJ, threw the sharpest barbs of the debate–particularly the remark about Newark’s surging crime rate–which he made in response to a question about environmental legislation to preserve the Passaic River. He quipped that the waters are unmanageable thanks to “all the bodies floating around of shooting victims in the city.”

Booker replied “Oh my God” repeatedly, commenting after the debate that he found the comment “offensive.” Lonegan corroborated the statement during the sparring match with the example of a 14-year-old girl who was shot to death in Newark “while [Booker] was on the Jimmy Fallon show telling people what a great job he was doing.” 

Lonegan also argued that, financially, Booker’s Newark was a liability for the rest of the state as much as for its own citizens, a “big black hole” sucking in state revenue. Booker, on his end, referred often to Lonegan as a “Tea Party” conservative–so much so that Lonegan joked Booker was doing a good job of following his “acting coach’s” instructions. Booker also made the claim that plans for a new Whole Foods franchise in Newark indicated that the city was on an upswing, the spitting image of urban renewal.

Widely considered the most contentious of their debates, Wednesday’s affair followed up on a debate in which Lonegan emphasized Booker’s celebrity status is a distraction and liability for someone seeking national office. Lonegan remarked that he “clobbered” his opponent, and he has called the race a “neck and neck” one. He has previously predicted an “earth-shattering” upset. The latest state poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University shows the Newark mayor with a double-digit lead, though his strategists have dismissed this as “meaningless” and not representative of who will actually come to the polls. 

New Jersey citizens will have their say on October 16. In the meantime, Lonegan has planned the “largest grassroots campaign event in New Jersey history“–a rally in Ocean County featuring allies Mark Levin and Sarah Palin this Saturday, October 12. Booker, meanwhile, has increased his attacks on an opponent rarely mentioned by his campaign until recently. Just this week, Booker also received an additional $1 million in funds from ally Michael Bloomberg to give what was once a surefire campaign a boost.


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