During an interview on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki, New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan (R) split with Chris Christie on the New Jersey Republican governor’s signature issue: federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Lonegan praised Christie’s “strong leadership,” but added that he does disagree with the governor on various issues. Among them is the recovery money that Governor Christie asked for and received from the federal government in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The Senate hopeful stated that the aid Christie requested was “over the top.”
“I disagree with Governor Christie and President Obama on Hurricane Sandy funding. I thought it was over the top. I thought it was too much money,” Lonegan said.
The interview took place less than a week after Governor Christie announced he was “proud” to endorse Lonegan, and vowed to help the campaign’s fundraising efforts.
“Steve will be a clear and powerful voice,” the governor said during his announcement.
He also said Lonegan is the candidate that would “make principled judgments…in the best interests of New Jersey.” That stands in sharp contrast to the way Christie has described other Republicans who opposed Sandy aid in the wake of the superstorm.
Lonegan also added that although he agrees with Christie on “lower taxes and limited government,” he’s “more on the side” of Kentucky senator Rand Paul (R) concerning the recovery funds for Hurricane Sandy.
The statement is a strong one, considering that the New Jersey governor and Kentucky senator have waged a war of words against each other this summer.
In July, Christie labeled libertarians like Paul as “very dangerous” to national security. Shortly after, Paul said Christie had a “gimme, gimme, gimme attitude” about recovery funds, leading Christie to call out Paul’s hypocrisy on federal spending, and Paul to mock Christie as the “king of bacon.”
The only thing Christie and Paul seem to agree on lately is Lonegan.
Paul hinted at endorsing Lonegan, saying: “We’re considering trying to help him out. In all likelihood, we’ll go in.”
Lonegan, who will soon face off with Newark mayor Cory Booker (D) in the special election, also told MSNBC that he did not agree with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the GOP Senate leadership’s compromising with the president on various issues.
“I would like to see them draw a stronger line in the sand. I would like to see them be less compromising with Obama and his issues, particularly in stopping the funding of Obamacare,” Lonegan said.
Lonegan voiced his support for some more specific legislation, such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and universal background checks for gun owners.
Governor Christie’s campaign did not respond to The National Memo‘s request for a response to Lonegan’s comments.
Photo: Nick Step via Flickr.com