New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, once seen as a potential Republican presidential campaign, is shifting further to the left, coughing up $1 million to back Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the embattled Democratic Senate candidate and a member of Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.”

Bloomberg’s help for Booker has sparked a conservative retaliation and fundraising bid for GOP candidate Steven Lonegan in the last week of the special election to replace former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.

The conservative group American Commitment has just cut a biographical video of Lonegan in its fundraising effort to help the longshot conservative take advantage of Booker’s fumblings and win the state.

“The liberals are sweating big time because they know Steve Lonegan is the genuine article,” said the group's Phil Kerpen.

Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota, N.J., and endorsed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, won kudos for his performance in a Sunday debate with Booker, delivering several zingers that underscored the problems of Booker’s campaign.

The New York Times reported the $1 million TV campaign effort by Bloomberg.

“When Bloomberg presses the panic button, you know there's a real opportunity for victory. And there is,” said Kerpen.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at