Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan was ecstatic this morning as he spoke to PolitickerNJ from the airport on his way out of the Hawkeye State after having helped his presidential candidate to victory.
“I’m trying to get out of here in the middle of a blizzard,” said Lonegan. “I’ve been here since Thursday.”
A former candidate for governor, U.S. Senator and Congress and the former statewide head of Americans for Prosperity, Lonegan heads up Cruz’s campaign in New Jersey.
A volunteer for Cruz’s winning campaign in Iowa, Lonegan said he knew his candidate would win.
“Honestly, I expected it,” he told PolitickerNJ in a telephone interview. “I knew what we had here. I knew we had depth of organization. …We had over 1,350 people trained for this caucus. Crowds of people would come back smiling after knocking on doors. Look, I know the difference. When you’re losing they come back demoralized.
“Or they don’t come back at all,” the movement conservative leader added.
Lonegan was on his way to New Hampshire next to help Cruz there and going forward.
“We roll out of here with $19 million cash on hand and the money rolling in,” he said.
What was the difference?
“Cruz demonstrated that he had the guts to take on ethanol subsidies in his home state,” Lonegan said. “Trump slobbered all over ethanol. Cruz sent a bigger, broader message. Trump did not have his act together organizationally. I looked at his headquarters last night. There was nobody there.
“He was relying on popular culture and the celebrity vote,” the former mayor added. “Look, Republican Primary voters are sophisticated. Seventy-six percent said no to Trump.”
In the larger construct of politics and campaigns, Lonegan, a veteran of multiple statewide races in New Jersey, said he loved seeing and participating in grassroots democracy in Iowa – very different, he noted from the process in New Jersey.