So we won. What’s next? Andy Kim has not even taken the oath of office, but the Burlington County Times is already speculating on who the Republicans will put up to challenge him in 2020. So how should Kim legislate?… Read more
Like most places, Burlington County politics is a bit of an enigma. While Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans, the Freeholder Board has been in GOP hands for a long time. The county has only once been able to give a Democratic… Read more
My June 4 diary, Yesterday’s Congressional Primaries and November’s Election indicated, “So with six Democratic seats likely to remain Democratic, are there other seats where Democrats can oust a Republican? Below are three districts where Democratic challengers may be poised to launch a strong campaign:” CD 3 (“With Jon Runyan (R) resigning, this open seat probably offers the best chance for a Democratic upset. The race is probably a toss-up at this moment.”), CD 2 (“Perhaps the land is now a little more shaky with Democrat William Hughes as the challenger. This is another battleground where the fight will be difficult but possibly winnable.”), and CD5 (“Roy Cho (D) may yet offer strong competition. It is clearly a difficult, uphill battle, but victory would be so sweet.”) Fast forward to today: In these three congressional districts Democrats have indeed launched strong campaigns.
Doing battle successfully against incumbents, as in CD 2 and CD 5, is never easy nor in CD 3, which with the exception of John Adler in 2010, has long voted Republican. It will require all hands on deck. With less than a month to go, see below the fold for an update, and join the fray.
Republican Congressman Jim Saxton represented New Jersey’s Third Congressional District for a quarter-century. Let’s take a look at the candidates from both parties who ran or are running for that seat since then.
On the Republican side, we had a business executive who later turned out to be a sex offender, an eminently unqualified but popular NFL star, and an out-of-district millionaire who is attempting to buy the seat.
On the Democratic side, we had a popular, fiercely smart Harvard-educated State Senator, then his equally qualified widow, and now an advocate for environmental protection and health care.
While both parties want to win, it seems like the Democrats are taking this business of representational government more seriously.
Today is a milestone for Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard – her 40th birthday. So how is she celebrating? The way she always does – working hard for causes that she believes in. Today, she’s drumming up support for her congressional run. But on any other day, she might be advocating for cancer research as a volunteer leader in the American Cancer Society or working for clean water here in Burlington County in her job as Freeholder.
The first time I met Belgard was on election night 2010. It was a sad night for the people of New Jersey’s Third Congressional District as our freshman Congressman John Adler, a fiercely smart and compassionate fixture in South Jersey politics, lost to Michigan native and former NFL football player Jon Runyan in what amounted to a popularity contest rather than an election of the most qualified person to fill the seat.
The next year, Belgard, an Edgewater Park Council member, took on a difficult challenge. She decided to run for the county freeholder board – a body that has been dominated by Republicans for decades. Election night that year was bittersweet. Although we re-elected Herb Conaway and gave Troy Singleton his first elective victory for the General Assembly, and although Aimee made the freeholder race the closest one in recent memory for a Democrat, she came up short.
If you live in the Third Congressional District, you probably have heard about Shelley Adler. But if you live elsewhere in New Jersey, you should know about her, too. After all, whom we elect to Congress affects not just those in the district, but also every American.
This year it’s especially important because Democrats have a chance to take back control of the House of Representatives – or as Adler puts it, bring adult supervision back to Washington.
Democrats need to flip 25 seats in order to send John Boehner to the back bench and regain the majority. Here in New Jersey, we have a wonderful opportunity to flip two of those seats. Shelley Adler, wife of the late Congressman John Adler, is one of them (I’ll write about another in a later diary.)
Adler’s opponent is ex-NFL player Jon Runyan, who defeated John Adler in the Tea Party election of 2010. As Assemblyman Herb Conaway put it in his introduction, Runyan is “over his [6’7″] head.” NFL players need to be able to memorize canned plays developed by others and react to the situation quickly. Runyan has excelled at memorizing the Tea Party talking points and regurgitating them on demand.
While Shelley Adler might not be as progressive as some Blue Jersey readers would like, she’s a solid Democrat and the stakes are too high for progressives to sit out this election.
This evening, she opened her campaign headquarters in Marlton. When I walked in the door, the suite was jam packed – every square foot of floor space was occupied by a supporter.
Whether you live in the Third District or elsewhere, it’s important to support Adler’s campaign to help take back America from the scourge of the Tea Party. You don’t even have to wait until Election Day. You can vote for Shelley as a DCCC Grassroots Champion at http://dccc.org/adler.
After introductions by Conaway and his colleague Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Adler addressed the crowd:
Per PolitickerNJ, the widow of former congressman John Adler is set to announce she plans to take from Jon Runyan the NJ-3 congressional seat that Runyan took from John Adler. It would be good to see another Adler sweep to victory in the 3rd District, like John Adler was swept in back in 2008. It’s good symmetry.
It’s useful to remember that though former Eagle Jon Runyan may have won in 2010, he got the chance to challenge Adler in his first re-election as an incumbent (Shelley Adler gets that chance now with Runyan) when he may never again be as vulnerable. Plus, the district had been Republican before Adler came in on the Obama wave, and perhaps most memorably, the Adler campaign floated a fake Tea Party candidate they tried for a long time to deny. That was apparently too disreputable even for New Jersey politics. (Adler, you’ll remember, died of complications of a staph infection just weeks later). Note: in an earlier version of this post I posted the wrong numbers for Runyan’s victory. Hat tip ken bank for the correction.
This is a good time to take Runyan out, though Adler will haYve to move into the District to do it. Her hometown Cherry Hill was redistricted out of NJ-3 this time around. And it’s useful to remember, whatever the unpleasant history of the late Congressman Adler’s last campaign, as a man and as a candidate, he way outclassed Runyan. Shelley Adler, like her late husband, is an attorney. Whatever his fame on the field, Runyan was spectacularly unqualified for office when he ran (and won). It’s impossible not to wish Adler well (or for that matter, any Democrat that takes Runyan on in a viable campaign). After all, Runyan’s still this guy:
This past week, we’ve seen a lot about the impact of congressional redistricting and the positioning of candidates in North Jersey for the upcoming election. Congressman Steve Rothman has declared that he will move and challenge his colleague Bill Pascrell in a primary rather than face incumbent Republican extremist Scott Garrett. Whether or not Rothman’s decision is a good one, it hurts me to see two Democrats spending a million dollars to knock each other off when the money could be better spent in an all-out effort to oust Garrett, one of the worst members of Congress.
It also bothers me that the Fourth Estate has virtually ignored the important race in the Third District. Another member of the “worst congressman’s club” is former NFL bad boy and current congressman Jon Runyan. Runyan’s voting record is as bad as Garrett’s, and over time if Runyan builds up seniority in the House, his impact will be just as deleterious.
Imagine that you are invited to a wedding reception at a snooty Five-Star restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. You know the chef is one of the best in the world, internationally famous, and you are looking forward to sharing a top-notch meal with your friends.
Imagine, also, that you are a vegetarian on a low-carb diet. You arrive at the reception and find that your dinner choices are filet mignon or pasta. What do you do?
Clearly, you can’t order the meat. You’re hungry, so you can’t choose to skip the dinner. You reluctantly get the pasta, which tastes so good that you overindulge on carbs that evening. You opted for the lesser of two evils and had a satisfactory but not satisfying dinner.