Bonnie and the Lonny Factor

Rolled out this week as the finance chair of Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s (D-15) 12th District Congressional Campaign, Trenton attorney Lionel “Lonnie” Kaplan arrives with an unusual asterisk alongside his public endorsement record for someone burnished as a Democratic Primary weapon.

Kaplan backed old pal and arch conservative Rick Santorum for president.

According to New Jersey Jewish News, “Rick Santorum, running under the slogan ‘the True Conservative,’ may seem an odd match with a Trenton attorney often referred to as a ‘prominent New Jersey Democrat.’

“But Lionel ‘Lonny’ Kaplan is urging fellow Jews to look past Santorum’s views on abortion, contraception, and religion and consider the Republican candidate’s views on Israel and, especially, his proposals for fixing a troubled economy.

“Kaplan, a former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has donated the allowable maximum to Santorum’s campaign — $2,500 — and expects to play a large role in the Pennsylvania Republican’s fund-raising efforts.

“It is the third time that Kaplan, who defines himself as a pro-choice liberal, has crossed party lines to back the Catholic conservative who has been his friend since 2000.

“They met when Kaplan was AIPAC president and Santorum was seeking Jewish support for reelection to his United States Senate seat.”

“Rick was very good on Israel, but the people in the pro-Israel world who were helping him were having some trouble with his campaign for reelection,” said Kaplan. “They came to me and said, ‘Lonny, can you help?’ And I did,” he told NJ Jewish News in a Feb 23 telephone interview. “When he ran in 2006 he asked me to get involved again, and I did.”

Watson Coleman is running in the Democratic Primary against state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14) and state Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-17).

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