Runyan and term limits: Why 8 years?

So Jon Runyan says he will impose term limits on himself should the voters send him to DC in November:

Runyan released a signed pledge to serve only four terms, or eight years, in Congress if elected.

“Today we find ourselves saddled with a system that makes it nearly impossible to defeat an incumbent Congressman due to their close ties to powerful special interests, vast powers of incumbency . . . and congressional districts that are gerrymandered to rob voters of competitive elections,” he wrote.

Runyan acknowledged that few Washington politicians have actually stuck by term limit pledges.

Sure, few actually stand by the pledge, but Runyan will take it anyway. If he wanted to get rid of John Adler, one term would be enough, so I was curious about the significance of the 8 years. Why not 6 or 10? What can a member of Congress in the minority accomplish in just four terms? Runyan says the biggest problem is that elected officials are always focused on the next election, which I think is a valid concern to raise, but then why will he focus on that 3 times after his initial election if it’s such a big concern?

Maybe it’s not about accomplishments, but about retirement security. See after five years, Runyan would be fully vested in the Federal Employee Retirement System deferred annuity – which means he could pick up a retirement check when he turns 65. It’s not like Runyan needs the money, but it’s curious how he arrived at his limit.

But Adler had his own retort to Runyan saying the voters would make the issue irrelevant at the ballot box:

“I don’t think he’s going to have any years of Congress,” he said.

So Adler isn’t having any of it from Runyan. This is going to be one entertaining, expensive and interesting race.

Comments (3)

  1. vmars

    Why shouldn’t the voters be allowed to pick who they want?  Should MA voters have been denied electing Ted Kennedy to the Senate?  Or AZ voters McCain?

    Instead of hamstringing the rights of voters, why not create a level playing field with things like free access to media, public financing, random ballot positions, etc.

    (And, yes, I know Runyan in limiting himself and not proposing a law.)

  2. Hopeful

    Let him put his millions in an escrow account he’ll only get if he retires on schedule. Otherwise, he’ll just be another LoBiondo, who promised term limits until the time was up, then staying in Congress.

    On the other hand, term limits are a bad idea anyway so it’s doubly stupid.  

  3. The Wizard

    imposed by the electorate. They’re called elections.


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