Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin of Alaska waded into New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race on Saturday, telling a crowd that the “eyes of America” are on the state.
Palin headlined a rally for Republican candidate Steve Lonegan at the New Egypt Speedway four days before the conservative former Bogota mayor faces Newark Mayor and Democratic candidate Cory Booker in Wednesday’s election. While Booker leads Lonegan in polls by double digits, national Republicans have poured time and resources into the campaign in recent days as polls show a tightening race.
Palin told the crowd, estimated at 2,000, that Lonegan would fight against the nation’s health-care law and stand with the conservative wing of the Republican party in the Senate. Palin told attendees to go out and vote and defy the fallacy that a conservative candidate cannot win in Democratic-leaning New Jersey.
“You have the momentum with Steve’s campaign,” Palin said. “The rest of the country knows.”
The former Alaska governor said she plans to go to Washington on Sunday to protest how politicians used “your hard-earned tax money to barricade the memorials” during the federal government shutdown. She said it was not a “shutdown” but a “slimdown,” which only halted a small part of government bloat.
Lonegan and Palin both harkened back to New Jersey’s role in the American Revolution.
“A win in New Jersey on Wednesday, which we will have,” Lonegan said, “will be the shot heard ‘round the world.’”
The rally comes three days after Booker canceled all campaign events upon the death of his father Thursday. Cary Booker died in Las Vegas at the age of 76. Cory often spoke about how his father rose up from poverty. His father and mother, Carolyn, were among the first black executives at IBM. Cary Booker, who grew up in North Carolina, also was active in the civil rights movement. The Bookers moved to New Jersey in 1969.
Cory resumed his campaign schedule Saturday, making stops in northern New Jersey. He told a crowd in Paterson that the past two days had been difficult, but he still felt his father’s love.
Booker said the race was a chance to show that “shutdown politics don’t work.” He chided Lonegan for “disrespectful” remarks he made in Wednesday’s debate, to the effect that Newark is so crime-ridden the Passaic River is filled with dead bodies.