Corzine is a formidable opponent, but Lonegan senses an opportunity for a GOP win as people become more and more frustrated with the economy. Corzine's approval rating are currently hovering around 45 percent, up from a steady decline he suffered last summer over his budget package to increase the state sales tax, road tolls and hike taxes on goods like cigarettes and liquor.
"The reason why the liberal left has been able to run amok in our state is because the GOP failed to put up a fight," he said. And, put up a fight Lonegan will.
As the longtime Mayor of Bogota, Lonegan has froze spending and debt for over a decade in a state with the highest state, local and small business taxes in the country, according to the Tax Foundation. In his first term he forced unions and schools to cut the fat from their budgets, initially causing the local football team, firefighters and police to march in the streets and protest on his lawn. "My wife brought them out drinks," he laughed. Ultimately, they renegotiated their contracts and cut back on expensive conferences and Lonegan won his first tumultuous re-election with 63 percent of the vote.
This will be Lonegan's second bid for Governor. He ran in 2005 and lost in the primary. This time around he'll have the force of 10,000 activists behind him. As a state director for the anti-tax organization Americans for Prosperity Lonegan has brought together a strong grassroots eager to take Lonegan's cost-cutting formulas to the state capitol.