RAHWAY – Republican municipal chairman Patrick Cassio endorsed former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan as his choice to be New Jersey’s next governor on Wednesday.
“The only way we’re going to change the way things are in New Jersey is to elect someone who has been a small town mayor, who knows the common person like me in Rahway. That’s Steve Lonegan,” Cassio said at a news conference in front of his home.
Cassio was critical of Gov. Jon Corzine. “He raised the sales tax two years ago one percent, but now we’re facing another budget deficit,” Cassio said. “Every year, it’s another gimmick. Now he raised the tolls on the working people… I hear they’re going to cut our rebates.”
“Only Steve Lonegan has a plan to stop this,” Cassio said.
Lonegan’s Republican primary opponent, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, picked up the endorsement of former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean last week. Lonegan took the opportunity to criticize Kean and, by implication, Christie.
“Tom Kean and I are very different kind of Republicans,” Lonegan said. “As Governor, Tom Kean raised the income tax from 2.5 to 3.5 percent, increased sales taxes from 5 to 6 percent, raised the gasoline tax 2.5 cents per gallon and increased corporate income taxes. State spending zoomed up 118 percent under Tom Kean while we got the highest car insurance rates in the nation.
“Under Tom Kean, taxes went up because spending went up. When I am Governor, taxes will go down because spending will go down,” Lonegan said.
Lonegan said that Cassio’s endorsement meant a lot to him. “Pat is one of the real workers in the Republican Party,” the candidate said. “He’s one of the thousands of grass-roots volunteers my campaign has enlisted throughout the state.”