Anti-gay and conservative Republican candidate, Steve Lonegan, is running for Congress in Northern New Jersey. His opponents say he has plenty to apologize for. Lonegan is being called out once-again for his anti-gay slurs, but denies calling a Bogota town council member a “fundamentalist faggot.”
The dirty details
In 2006, while the mayor of Bogota, he called a Republican councilman a “fundamentalist faggot piece of sh**,” according to the councilman, George Silos. Bogota GOP chairman Andrew Fede also witnessed it.
Lonegan’s past statements resurfaced in the current campaign, and have caught the attention of many New Jerseyans. This week The Star Ledger editorial board stated he should be disqualified from the campaign. Now that he is running for Congress, Lonegan denies it all. But he never attempted to deny it in 2006, when Silos’ charges first surfaced. Lonegan’s campaign spokesman didn’t deny it either, saying only that Lonegan used “some naughty words.”
Silos, says he sent an email at the time complaining about it to prominent Republicans. This was worse than naughty he told The Star Ledger. “It was an anti-gay homophobic slur. It was ugly and hateful.”
Silos, married with two kids, said he was bothered by Lonegan’s “thug” behavior.
At the same meeting, he said, Lonegan threatened to go outside and fight him, twice. And in a previous, three-way phone conversation, Lonegan told him, “I’ll cut your balls off.” The GOP party chair, Fede, swore that Silos had told him about this in 2016.
Silos thinks Lonegan used the slur because he was angry the councilman was supporting a police officer that Lonegan had asked for a political favor. “That’s what spewed out,” Silos said to The Star Ledger. “He’s got the mentality of a nine-year-old schoolyard bully.”
The implication for Christians wasn’t particularly nice either. Lonegan is Roman Catholic. Silos is evangelical. He believes the “fundamentalist” comment indicates, “He [Lonegan] doesn’t like my brand of Christianity.”
The Star Ledger weighs in
“Lonegan knows this quote makes him radioactive in New Jersey. He should quit now, and end the drama,” said New Jersey’s largest newspaper, The Star Ledger.
Six of New Jersey’s 12 congressional districts are considered very competitive this year. The voters in Lonegan’s district don’t like this kind of behavior. They have made that clear say Democrats and the congressional districts somewhat moderate Republican voters. They remember when Congressman Scott Garrett, back in 2016, lost funding for his campaign when Garden State Equality and other progressives targeted Garrett by protesting his bank and Wall Street campaign donors for supporting an anti-gay candidates. The Republicans lost that election to Josh Gottheimer.
The now incumbent Democrat, Gottheimer, is more than ready to be re-elected if the Republicans put Steve Lonegan on the ballot in November. Silos, along with Bergen County Republican chairman, Paul DiGaetano, and several others have called for Lonegan to step down.
Lonegan is extreme say LGBT activists and progressives. When it comes to anti-gay rhetoric, he’s against the right of same-sex couples to raise children, or even to marry. He opposed civil unions back in the early 2000s. He also has said he would make abortion illegal in cases of rape or incest.
Lonegan is also anti-immigration — except when it helps him. He demanded that a local McDonald’s remove a Spanish-language billboard. Then he attempted to make English the official language of Bogota. Later, police discovered he’d hired two illegal immigrants to help his campaign assemble lawn signs. He just said, “These guys need the money.”
Lonegan is a not right for New Jersey or the Republican party in New Jersey say his critics. Said The Star Ledger editorial board, “He’s shrugging off this story in the same way now, as an allegation of name-calling from a dozen years ago.” But it’s a plausible one, and a hateful slur that should disqualify him from Congress.”
Out In Jersey magazine agrees wholeheartedly.