As House Republicans maneuver to defuse the most explosive piece of the latest fiscal standoff -- pushing for a short-term increase in the government's borrowing authority in order to avoid a default -- GOP Senate candidate Steve Lonegan told them "not to capitulate."
Lonegan issued a news release Thursday morning in which he urged House Republicans "not to capitulate to the president's unreasonable demands. When I win, Obama will fold."
Lonegan said his internal polling shows "a neck-and-neck race" in New Jersey against Democrat Cory Booker.
"My victory in this election on Wednesday will send a message to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that the American people want an end to Obamacare and the rest of the President's radical agenda," Lonegan said.
Independent polls from Quinnipiac and Stockton College find Booker with an 11 to 12 point lead, and after Wednesday night's debate Booker said his internal polls gave him an even stronger lead.
For Lonegan, his statement today is the latest example of him staking out far-right positions while running in a state that President Obama won by 17 points last year. In Wednesday's debate he also spoke out against same-sex marriage and questioned whether same-sex couples should raise children, vowed to gut several federal departments, including the Department of Education, and said he would not support a debt ceiling increase, even at the risk of default, if Obama did not agree to corresponding spending cuts. On Saturday he will rally in New Jersey with Sarah Palin.
Booker, whose campaign strategy has turned to painting Lonegan as "too extreme" for New Jersey, has been delighted by his opponents' recent performance.
"I was very happy with how Lonegan represented himself because tonight he told his truth for everybody to see," Booker said after Wednesday's debate.
But Lonegan contends that New Jersey is not as liberal as the media and pundits make it out to be.
"I have come as far as I have in this campaign by ignoring the advice from all the pollsters and consultants who have told me to change what I think and change who I am," Lonegan said in Thursday's release.
"Republicans need to hold firm," he added, "because seven days from today when Bob Menendez escorts me down the Senate aisle for my swearing in, the message about what our party should do will be clear for all."