Sarah Palin brought the “eyes of America” to New Jersey on Saturday to bolster Republican Steve Lonegan’s long-shot Senate bid in Wednesday’s special election in the Garden State.
“You have the momentum with Steve’s campaign,” Palin told a crowd of about 2,000 at the New Egypt Speedway, according to the New York Post. “The rest of the country knows.”
Lonegan is battling Newark Mayor Cory Booker for the Senate seat left open by the June death of longtime Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Lonegan, a staunch opponent of Obamacare, is facing an uphill battle against Booker. But the Democrat hasn’t done himself any favors during the campaign — apparently inventing a drug dealer named “T-Bone” he claimed to have rehabilitated and getting caught in a twitter exchange with at stripper in Oregon named Lynsie Lee, according to Fox News.
(“New Jersey needs a leader, not a tweeter,” Lonegan zinged when the two men debated Friday, Fox reported.)
Possibly imaginary drug dealers and Oregon strippers can hurt a Senate candidate — even a Democrat Senate candidate in New Jersey. Booker last week held a 12-point lead in the polls, down from a 35-point lead earlier in the race, according to Fox.
“My sense is that the numbers reflect complacency in the Booker campaign,” Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker told Fox (as well as possibly imaginary drug dealers and Oregon strippers).
“The Booker people wrote off Lonegan as a right-wing crank and small-town mayor. Booker was on the fast track to election, and there was a growing realization that he saw the race wrapped up and that’s always a mistake.”
At a news conference before Palin’s appearance, Lonegan told reporters Palin would be a late boost for his campaign, according to the Star-Ledger.
Democrats, he said, “are absolutely scared to death of Sarah Palin coming here because they know she is going to mobilize this base.”