We wrote yesterday about how former Eagles lineman Jon Runyan was mulling a challenge to John Adler’s seat in Congress. But did he fumble before he even kicks off his campaign by not calling Ocean County GOP boss George Gilmore to say hello first:
“I’ll wait for Mr. Runyan to make contact and we’ll take it from there, but obviously there are a lot of viable candidates out there,” said Gilmore. “Some are from Ocean County, some from Burlington, and we’ll have to wait and see how they all withstand the scrutiny that will be put on their strengths and weaknesses.”
When Runyan does call, Gilmore already has some questions:
Gilmore also noted that Runyan – a free agent who is not active in the NFL right now but has not retired – has expressed interest in past interviews about returning to play football.
“These are the questions we want to ask, but I have yet to have the opportunity to discuss this with Mr. Runyan,” he said.
It’s not like Gilmore is just someone in GOP politics, as evidenced to his appointment on the Christie transition team. Wally had more on Gilmore’s influence:
Gilmore, a superstar since he delivered a 70,000-vote margin for Gov.-elect Christopher Christie last week, has reacted poorly to demonstrations of disrespect like this in the past. In 2005, Gilmore gave GOP gubernatorial candidate Douglas Forrester a list of calls he needed to make to secure support in Ocean County. To Gilmore’s annoyance, Forrester never made most of the calls; Gilmore instead gave the Ocean County GOP line to Robert Schroeder, who diligently courted local Republicans. Forrester won the primary, but never got Gilmore fully engaged; he won Ocean County by about a third of what Christie did.
Gilmore and the Republicans would probably like to avoid a repeat of last year, where a costly primary fight between the counties left them fighting an uphill battle against Adler. While Gilmore may not have gotten a call, Burlington County Republican Chair Bill Layton is already a member of the Jon Runyan for Congress facebook group. That’s sure to make Gilmore happy.
The first thing that has to happen is for Runyan to decide if he’s just seriously considering or ready to jump in the political fray.