Courier-Post picks Lonegan for gov, Merkt for LG

The Courier-Post gave Steve Lonegan his first endorsement for governor this morning.

The paper’s editorial board urged whichever frontrunner prevails to pick the third man in the contest, Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Mendham).

“No matter who wins, Merkt ought to be the pick for lieutentant governor,” wrote the paper’s editorial board. “Besides being incredibly bright and attuned to the issues, he is a 12-year veteran of the Legislature. He knows the lawmaking process and what drives things in the State House.”

The board said that it picked Lonegan because offered more specific plans than Merkt or the presumed frontrunner, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

“He knows exactly how he wants to bring about change in the state. And while it won't be easy (the state Legislature is controlled by Democrats), we believe Lonegan possesses the tenacity to make at least some of his plans happen,” read the endorsement.

Regarding Lonegan’s controversial comment about “bulldozing” some neighborhoods of the paper’s hometown of Camden, the editors said he “needs to be more tactful in how he lays out a vision for returning the city to local control and to being a jewel in the state,” although it agreed with some of his plans.

Christie has won the endorsements of two major dailies: The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Post. Although this is Lonegan's first major newspaper endorsement, the Wall Street Journal this week lauded his flat tax plan and criticized Christie for attacking it. Courier-Post picks Lonegan for gov, Merkt for LG