Too Conservative for Newspaper Endorsements? « The Washington Independent
That’s the argument that Steve Lonegan, a former mayor hoping to represent the GOP in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race this year, is making.
After Lonegan’s chief opponent, Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, snagged the backing of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Hanover Eagle, Lonegan came out swinging — suggesting those endorsements were proof Christie isn’t the guy to represent the Republicans. Lonegan’s office issued a Memorial Day memo claiming that the “liberal-left”, which from their perspective includes some major newspapers, was scared by a recent poll that showed Lonegan narrowly beating current Democratic Garden State Gov. Jon Corzine in his quest for re-election.
With the recent Quinnipiac Poll showing Steve Lonegan beating Corzine by 42-41, the liberal-left is worried about a real conservative winning in a “blue” state and are lining up behind Chris Christie.
The Lonegan statement quotes the following excerpt from The Inquirer’s endorsement of Christie on Sunday:
The contest to bear the Republican standard against the Democratic gubernatorial candidate has fallen into a familiar pattern for the New Jersey GOP: the hard-line conservative promising outright upheaval versus the establishment candidate espousing vague electability. The latter is CHRIS CHRISTIE, and The Inquirer endorses him in the Republican primary.
And Lonegan pulls the following from the Eagle’s endorsement Friday:
Lonegan’s meat-ax approach to cutting state departments and the state budget, and his long record of extreme right-wing positions on immigration and social issues … Our nod in the Republican primary … therefore, goes to Chris Christie …[
As far as conspiracy theories go, it’s a weak argument. Both endorsements were lukewarm at best: The Inquirer criticized Christie’s “foggy agenda” and said that the man they endorsed “has proven much better at criticizing others’ positions than at having his own.” The Eagle’s editorial board said they were “concerned about his lapse of judgment awarding lucrative monitoring contracts in deferred prosecution agreements to law firms with whom his office had dealings,” including his former boss U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.