On the same day Frank Lautenberg's life was celebrated at his funeral in New York, Republican Steve Lonegan has announced he will run in a special election for Lautenberg's U.S. Senate seat.

Steve Lonegan (Facebook)

Lonegan is wasting no time gathering the required 1,000 signatures he must turn into the Secretary of State's office at the Statehouse by 4:00 p.m. on Monday. “We’’re going to file petitions and we’re going to win the primary and the general election,” Lonegan told the Star Ledger. “We are going to galvanize tea party members, independents, Reagan Democrats and moderate Republicans.”

Lonegan ran for Governor against Christie in 2009 and most recently served as the President of the New Jersey chapter of Americans For Prosperity.

He also got the support of fellow Republican state Senator Michael Doherty who expressed his anger at Governor Christie's timeline for a special election. “I feel the timeline is artificially restrictive,” Doherty said. “Not many people can get 1,000 signature in that short of time. It’s not inclusionary, it’s exclusionary. I think the governor was ill-advised and he should make a change.”

Democrat Congressman Frank Pallone and Rush Holt, both of whom have indicated they will run in the August 13 primary, attended Lautenberg's funeral today as did likely candidate Cory Booker.

Interim Senator Al Leiter?

Al Leiter (Facebook)

Another Republican considering a run: former Yankees and Mets pitcher Al Leiter. The Ocean County Republican told ESPN he would be interested in being appointed to the seat by Christie. “Who wouldn’t be interested if the governor of your state for whatever reason of their due process thought [you were] worthy, in their opinion," he told Andrew Marchand.

Leiter has campaigned for Christie, served on his transition team and is currently on the board of the New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.