Going for contrast, shortly after frontrunner Chris Christie appeared alongside former Gov. Tom Kean in the Bernardsville Inn, insurgent Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan stood with relative no-namer Pat Cassio, the municipal chairman of the Rahway Republican Party.
The run and gun Lonegan presser was meant to show blue collar base support against a Christie-Kean GOP establishment.
“With all due respect to Tom Kean, I did not seek his endorsement,” said Lonegan, former mayor of Bogota. “I’m not a Tom Kean Republican. As governor, Tom Kean raised the sales tax from five to six percent, increased the gas tax, the income tax from two and a half to three and a half percent, and a number of corporate taxes. The state budget increased 118 percent under Gov. Kean.
“The real question here is whether Chris Christie supports the tax-raising policies of the Kean administration,” Lonegan added.
Lonegan campaign consultant Rick Shaftan saidhis gubernatorial candidate appeared with Cassio at Cassio’s residence in Rahway, pointing out that Cassio epitomizes dedication to the kind of GOP grunt work the party will need to do if it wants to reclaim the governor’s mansion.
“He’s one of those rank and file Republican Primary voters who’s been out there in front of shopping centers gathering signatures,” Lonegan confirmed. “He represents the future; Tom Kean represents the past.”