It’s almost time for Senator Rand Paul to finally make that trip to New Jersey that’s been talked about for so long. Paul will be campaigning for New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan (who is also supported by the state’s Gov. Chris Christie, who will not be in attendance due to his wife’s birthday). Lonegan’s opponent is Newark Mayor and Democrat Corey Booker.
And on the eve of the event, Paul decided to make some noise as one of the few national Republicans willing to step into a heavily-Democratic state (Christie being the exception).
Alexander Burns of Politico wrote of the event,
“[Paul] described Lonegan, who is far behind Booker in the polls for next month’s special election, as a solid conservative and ‘defender of the Fourth Amendment’ who impressed Paul during a visit to Washington over the summer…
POLITICO reported Paul’s plans to campaign for Lonegan earlier this month: His trip will make Paul one of precious few national GOP figures to get involved in the lopsided New Jersey Senate race. Booker and Lonegan are vying to succeed the late Frank Lautenberg.”
Paul also dove headfirst into the back-and-forth of a campaign, taking a shot at Lonegan’s opponent, Booker.
“Explaining his decision to campaign for Republican nominee Steve Lonegan on Friday, Paul jabbed at Booker as a politician with ‘an imaginary friend with imaginary problems’ — an allusion to stories Booker has told about a Newark drug lord named ‘T-Bone,’ whom he has said he befriended…
‘If Cory will introduce me to T-Bone when I get there, I’d love to meet T-Bone. If T-Bone’s not real, maybe we need to get Mr. Booker to talk about real problems,’ Paul told POLITICO in an interview.”
And of course, Paul can’t go anywhere near New Jersey without the media bringing up his (overblown, if I may inject into here a little bit) feud with Christie. The two traded barbs over the summer about national security and conservatism, then Paul offered to sit down with Christie and hash it out over a beer. Christie, however, declined, saying he was too busy running for re-election.
According to the Public Policy Polling Survey release Sept 18, Paul and Christie are running neck and neck as the frontrunners for the GOP nominee for the presidential race of 2016. Since feelings between the two seem to run thin on the Christie side (perhaps the only thin thing on his side), Paul was once again asked about it.
“Paul invited Christie to join him at Lonegan’s side but Christie declined, citing his wife’s birthday.
Paul joked that he was disappointed by Christie’s absence: ‘I really, really, really want to have a beer with him. … No, we just thought since I was going up there, we’d ask him.’
‘We’ll break bread at some point in time,’ Paul added. ‘I’m a big believer in trying to defuse a situation rather than make it worse.’”
Everyone anticipated Paul’s visit to New Jersey would bring the media spotlight with it. But Paul got an early start, jumping into the fray before the event even began.
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