Steve Lonegan

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Steve Lonegan
Steve Lonegan 2011.jpg
Mayor of Bogota
In office
January 1, 1996 – January 1, 2008
Preceded by Leonard Nicolosi
Succeeded by Pat McHale
Personal details
Born Steven Mark Lonegan
(1956-04-27) April 27, 1956 (age 58)
Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lorraine Rossi
Alma mater William Paterson University
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Steven Mark "Steve" Lonegan (born April 27, 1956) is an American businessman, author and former Mayor of Bogota, New Jersey from 1995 to 2007. A member of the Republican Party, Lonegan was the State Director of the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity and a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey in 2005 and 2009. He was the Republican Party's nominee in the October 2013 special election to fill New Jersey's open U.S. Senate seat following the death of Frank Lautenberg.[1][2]

Early life and background[edit]

Lonegan was born in Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey. His grandparents emigrated from Italy and Ireland.[3] He graduated from Ridgefield Park High School where he set several high school track records. He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 14, and is now legally blind.[4]

Lonegan has owned a custom home building business and a cabinet-making business. He served as the state national and finance vice president for the National Federation of Independent Business.[5][6] He graduated in 1980 from William Paterson College with a B.A. in Business Administration and in 1981, he earned Master of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

He is married to Lorraine Rossi Lonegan and they have two daughters. The Lonegan family attends St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Bogota.

Lonegan is an active Freemason, having achieved the rank of Master Mason in William F. Burk Masonic Lodge No. 230 in 1998. His connections after joining this Freemasonic Lodge include Dr. Steven Press, the only doctor in Olympic history to have been Chief physician for 15 nations at one Olympic Games.

Political career[edit]

Mayor of Bogota[edit]

In 1995 Lonegan was elected Mayor of Bogota, defeating incumbent Democrat Leonard Nicolosi. He was reelected in 1999[7] and 2003 by double-digit margins. As Mayor, he cut municipal spending, merged several municipal departments and privatized some services. Lonegan ordered the municipality to hire civilian emergency dispatchers at lower pay than uniformed officers, angering the local Police union; successfully fought the implementation of LOSAP (Length of Service Award Program), which extended pension payments to volunteer fire and rescue personnel; and required that local union contracts exceeding inflation be put to voters for approval. While he was in office Republicans, long in the minority in Democratic-leaning Bogota, controlled the municipal council for 11 straight elections. Lonegan did not seek reelection in 2007.

The 2003 mayoral election in Bogota was chronicled in the documentary Anytown, USA.[8]

In 1998 Lonegan ran unsuccessfully for New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District seat against Rep. Steve Rothman, who won 65%-34%.

In 2006, Lonegan filed papers for a public referendum in Bogota on making English the official language for the municipality. The public question was rejected by the County Clerk’s office, which is partly responsible for officiating elections, on legal advice that it violated state and federal law.[9]

On January 19, 2008, Lonegan was arrested by New Jersey State Police troopers for trespassing at a town hall meeting scheduled by Gov. Jon Corzine at a high school in Middle Township, New Jersey.[10] Lonegan was standing on the school's lawn protesting when police and school officials asked him to move to a designated protest area and remove a sign he was holding. Police arrested him when he refused. School officials later apologized and police dropped the charges.[11]

State director of Americans for Prosperity[edit]

From 2007 - June 2013 Lonegan served as the New Jersey state director and Senior Policy Analyst for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative public policy organization.[12][13][14][15] He has taken a hiatus to run for U.S. Senate, just as he had three years earlier to run for Governor.[16]

In 2003 Lonegan and the group "stopthedebt.com" filed lawsuits against the State of New Jersey in New Jersey's Supreme Court, challenging state debt sold without voter approval in violation of the state constitution's "debt limitation clause". In its finding against Lonegan and the group, the court stated two reasons for not requiring voter approval of that debt. First, that the debt was issued to finance a constitutional mandate: the requirement that "The Legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years" (Article VIII Section IV). Second, that the debt was technically not backed by the full faith and credit of New Jersey, and future lawmakers could refuse to honor that contract at any time.[17]

On July 28, 2008, Lonegan filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court in Bergen County against Governor Jon Corzine and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority challenging the sale of $3.9 billion in additional state debt, purportedly for school construction, without voter approval. That suit was dismissed.[18]

Campaigns for Governor[edit]

Steve Lonegan addresses protestors at the Philadelphia Tea Party protest on April 18, 2009.

Lonegan ran for the Republican nomination for governor in the state's 2005 elections and finished fourth with 8.08% of the vote after the nominee, businessman Doug Forrester, former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler and Morris County Freeholder John Murphy.[19]

On December 1, 2008, Lonegan announced that he would run for the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey, his second run for the seat. Lonegan promised to cut the size of state government by more than 20% and said he would run on the issues of property taxes, school funding and affordable housing.[20][21] Lonegan sought to run as a conservative alternative to the more centrist candidate, former U.S. Prosecutor Chris Christie.[22] On June 2, Lonegan lost the primary to Christie by a 55–42% vote.[23]

2013 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

In June 2013, Lonegan announced that he would run to fill New Jersey's open U.S. Senate seat following the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg.[2] Lonegan easily won the Republican primary in August 2013, making him the Republican Party's nominee in the October 2013 special election[1] Lonegan was defeated in the election by Democrat Cory Booker. He lost by nearly eleven percentage points.

2014 U.S. House campaign[edit]

Lonegan announced in October 2013 that he would run in the November 2014 election to represent New Jersey's 3rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Incumbent Jon Runyan had chosen not to run for reelection.[24] Lonegan lost to Steve MacArthur with 40% voting for Lonegan as opposed to MacArthur's 60%.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Taylor, Jessica (August 13, 2013). "Cory Booker wins Democratic primary in New Jersey". NBC News. 
  2. ^ a b Pizarro, Max (June 5, 2013), Lonegan running for US Senate; Doherty backing him, PolitickerNJ.com, retrieved June 6, 2013 
  3. ^ "Issues". Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  4. ^ Chadwick, John (March 15, 2008), Legally blind Governor to serve as trailblazer, NorthJersey.com, retrieved March 30, 2009 
  5. ^ 2003 Article about his homebuilding venture from the National Federation of Independent Businesses website http://www.nfib.com/object/3635326.html
  6. ^ Kocieniewski, David (October 22, 1998), THE 1998 CAMPAIGN: NEW JERSEY; Democrat in Lead as Interest in Scandal Cools, The New York Times, retrieved March 30, 2009 
  7. ^ MUNICIPAL RESULTS AT A GLANCE -- BOGOTA, The Record (Bergen County), November 3, 1999, retrieved March 31, 2009 
  8. ^ Benson, Josh. "WORTH NOTING; Star of Stage and Screen If Not the Ballot Box", The New York Times, June 26, 2005. Accessed February 12, 2008.
  9. ^ Weiss, Jennifer (September 10, 2006), English-Language Question Gets a No Answer, The New York Times, retrieved April 2, 2009 
  10. ^ Serdar Tumgoren, and Stephanie Akin (January 20, 2008), Lonegan arrested, The Record (Bergen County), retrieved March 30, 2009 
  11. ^ Margolin, Josh (January 23, 2008), Charges may be dropped in Lonegan arrest at Corzine toll meeting, The Star-Ledger, retrieved March 30, 2009 
  12. ^ Zernike, Kate (October 19, 2010), "Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead", New York Times. 
  13. ^ Mayer, Jane (January 7, 2009). "The billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  14. ^ Overby, Peter (February 19, 2010). "Who's Raising Money For Tea Party Movement?". "David Koch has directly taken credit for founding Americans for Prosperity, saying, "Five years ago my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity."" 
  15. ^ Wertz, Fausta (November 3, 2007), On the Road in New Jersey: Americans for Prosperity, The Star-Ledger, NJ Voices Blog, retrieved June 17, 2009 
  16. ^ Friedman, Matt (June 17, 2009), Lonegan Back with AFP, PolitickerNJ.com, retrieved June 17, 2009 
  17. ^ N.J. Supreme Court upholds appropriations-backed debt, Government Finance Review, June 2003, retrieved March 30, 2009 
  18. ^ Judge dismisses Lonegan's schools lawsuit (AP), The Star-Ledger, December 9, 2008, retrieved March 30, 2009 
  19. ^ http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/2005results/05primaryelection/05_primary_official_results-gov.pdf State of New Jersey Division of Elections Official 2005 Primary Election Results.
  20. ^ Heininger, Claire (December 1, 2008), Lonegan announces bid for NJ Governor, The Star-Ledger, retrieved March 30, 2009 
  21. ^ Tamari, Tamari (December 1, 2008), Lonegan enters governor's race, Philadelphia Inquirer, retrieved March 30, 2009 ,
  22. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (May 29, 2009), Campaign for Governor Splits GOP in New Jersey, New York Times, retrieved June 17, 2009 
  23. ^ Halbfinger, David M. (June 2, 2009), "Ex-Prosecutor Wins G.O.P. Primary in New Jersey", The New York Times, retrieved June 3, 2009 
  24. ^ "Lonegan says he'll run for Congress in South Jersey". NJ.com. October 16, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Steve Lonegan loses again". Politico.com. 6/4/14. Retrieved 6/6/14. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Dick Zimmer
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from New Jersey
(Class 2)

2013
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Bell