By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Republican Steve Lonegan fell short in his uphill effort to win New Jersey’s special election to the U.S. Senate.

New Jersey hasn’t elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 41 years. Steve Lonegan with his message of less government did not break that streak, though he came closer than many thought.

READ: Democrat Cory Booker Wins US Senate Election In NJ

“The big Washington consultants and power groups said we couldn’t win. Well, maybe if they’d have played a role in this election we could have won,” Lonegan said.

Lonegan says his message of less government failed to ring through for a majority of New Jersey voters.

“Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the message that we delivered together with so much energy and so much passion did not win the day,” he said.

Lonegan did thank Senator Rand Paul, Governor Rick Perry and Sarah Palin for campaigning for him. And he said Governor Christie couldn’t have done more for him, short of going door to door and putting up lawn signs.

Lonegan said he called Cory Booker to congratulate him.

“I’m hoping God will be with him in the decisions he makes as he goes into the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C.  And I said to myself, ‘Who wants that job anyway?'”

Lonegan says he’ll go back to the private sector now, to create jobs.

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