New Jersey's conservative provocateur-in-chief, never at a loss for an irascible word, hates what he's hearing from his party's presumptive presidential nominee.

Steve Lonegan, who often annoys fellow Republicans as much as Democrats, has lately and improbably become the loudest voice of the Dump Trump movement in the New Jersey GOP.

Lonegan is pushing the cause through fiery takedowns of top Donald Trump loyalists, as on CNN recently, when he and Jeffrey Lord accused each other of running a political suicide mission.

"Frankly, this is just a group of people who want to do the kamikaze thing," Lord said, declaring that the 14 million people who voted for Trump in Republican primaries would revolt against the party if people like Lonegan were successful.

"The only kamikaze effort," Lonegan snapped back, "is going to happen in November, when Donald Trump takes the Republican Party down to a resounding defeat."

Lonegan, 60, an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate and House and for governor, is advising a group that represents something of a last-gasp effort to derail Trump's improbable takeover of the Republican Party.

Lonegan is hardly the only Republican concerned about Trump's nomination, but many more appear resigned to that inevitability.

Lonegan's campaign hinges on the unlikely proposition that the Rules Committee of the Republican National Convention decides by a majority vote to "free" delegates who are bound, at least initially, to support Trump as a result of his successful primary campaign.

The Republican National Committee has described the "so-called movement" to "undermine" Trump as "silly."

But if the goal is far-fetched - the previous Stop Trump movement failed to deny him the 1,237 delegates needed to become the presumptive nominee - Lonegan also is an odd spokesman for an organization seeking to accomplish it.

His exchange with Lord, for example, showed his passion for brawling and his penchant for embracing difficult, if not impossible, political pursuits. Yet Lonegan's new role also marks a shift from his past strategy of tapping into resentment toward party elites to fuel his causes. Put another way, no one would mistake him for Mr. GOP Establishment, Mitt Romney, another outspoken Trump critic.

A former mayor of the small Bergen County borough of Bogota, Lonegan ran unsuccessfully in 2013 against rising Democratic star Cory A. Booker for a vacant Senate seat, knowing full well that New Jersey voters had not elected a Republican to that chamber in 40 years.

The following year, Lonegan, who opposed the federal Hurricane Sandy relief package, ran for Congress in a district that had been hit by Sandy. He lost in the primary to Tom MacArthur, a moderate Republican.

Lonegan twice ran for governor and is a former state director of Americans for Prosperity. In his work for that conservative group, he says, he befriended Corey Lewandowski, whom Trump fired this week as his campaign manager.

"He's a good manager," Lonegan said of Lewandowski.

Last year, he and about 20 other conservative activists and economists met privately with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to call for higher interest rates.

Now a regular firebrand on cable TV, Lonegan is a spokesman for Courageous Conservatives, a political action committee that is helping to lead the "Free the Delegates" effort.

It had just $2,178 in cash on hand as of May 31, according to campaign-finance records. Since September, the PAC has spent nearly $357,000 to back the election of conservative candidates.

The PAC's online petition pans Trump's "pathetic attempt to appeal to bigotry," declares that the New York businessman is "demonstrating mental instability," and says his "inability to transform from reality TV star to party leader is creating a crisis of confidence within the Republican Party."

It demands that "all delegates" be allowed to pick a candidate based on their "conscience," a concept House Speaker Paul Ryan seemed to support.

Lonegan, who was state director for Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, said in an interview that his involvement in the Dump Trump movement "was totally, totally spontaneous."

He said he was spurred into action a couple of weeks ago at the peak of Trump's "meltdown" over the federal judge presiding over litigation against Trump University.

Trump has said the judge, who was born in Indiana and whose parents emigrated from Mexico, cannot fairly adjudicate the case because of his ethnicity. Trump has pledged to build a wall on the Mexican border.

Since then, support has exploded, Lonegan said, with about 1,000 people participating in a conference call Sunday organized by Republicans interested in stopping Trump.

On Lonegan's to-do list: Identify members of the Rules Committee and go to Cleveland for the convention next month to "prop up delegates in case they're threatened." Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh is trying to persuade other delegates to defy Trump.

Asked about Gov. Christie's endorsement of Trump, Lonegan said, "I respect Chris. I wonder if he's having second thoughts. You got to wonder about all these guys supporting Trump, what they're thinking." (Lonegan ran unsuccessfully against Christie in the 2009 GOP gubernatorial primary.)

Some who have watched Lonegan operate as an outsider in New Jersey are struck by his push to frustrate Trump, who has campaigned as the ultimate outsider.

"To have Steve Lonegan, who has purportedly been the antiestablishment candidate in New Jersey all these years, now trying to get the establishment to overrule the will of his own party's voters I find to be somewhat ironic," said Julie Roginsky, a Democratic consultant who worked for Booker's 2013 campaign.

Like Trump, Lonegan is also known for his unfiltered speaking style. (He has described Trump as "Hillary Clinton with a penis," and during a debate against Booker in the 2013 campaign spoke of "bodies floating around" the Passaic River because of crime in Newark, where Booker was mayor.)

Lonegan rejects the comparison, calling Trump "insulting and demeaning."

"Let's not muddy the waters," he said in the interview. "I believe in a civil society."

One that he would prefer is not led by Donald Trump.

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@AndrewSeidman