Steve Lonegan has already been endorsed by two Republican big shots — Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie — and next month, the New Jersey senate candidate will get a boost from another national GOP name: Rick Perry.
Perry, a former presidential hopeful who is wrapping up his last term as governor of Texas, will endorse Lonegan at an event in New Jersey on Oct. 1, the campaign confirmed Wednesday morning. A Lonegan aide said Perry is also expected to attend a fundraiser for the candidate during his visit to the Garden State.
Lonegan, the Republican nominee in the New Jersey special election, is trying to close a wide gap in the polls against Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark. According to a recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll, Booker leads Lonegan by 35 points.
Lonegan’s policy views may edge toward the far-right wing of the Republican Party, but his campaign has received steady support throughout the special election from some of the biggest names in the mainstream GOP — backing his campaign attributes to a “unified Republican Party.”
In the last month, Christie and Paul, two possible presidential candidates in 2016, stumped for Lonegan. The governor, who barely campaigned for his close friend Joe Kyrillos when he ran for Senate last year, surprised many with his in-person endorsement in Hunterdon County late last month.
Perry, who has hinted he may vie for the White House again in three years, has clashed with Lonegan in the past. In 2011, the Senate candidate claimed Perry did not “stick to his guns” after calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” — a view Lonegan shares.