Tag Archive: jon runyan

Just like sports, only politics

While Jon Runyan winds down his playing career in San Diego, he’s trying to get a crash course on politics and campaiging. He has decided that his new career path could be just like the prior one:

Runyan, meanwhile, says he’ll ramp up his campaign efforts after the Chargers’ season is done. He said he hopes he can concentrate on football until the Super Bowl in February.

He said he has learned already that pro sports and politics have one big thing in common: “Dealing with the scrutiny of everybody watching your every move all the time.”

I’m sure there are plenty more similarities we could find if we looked hard enough. He may be surprised to know that they go to take you out at the knees in politics too.

Will Jon Runyan be the next Lynn Swann?

There is a post on PolitickerNJ which reports that Justin Murphy, a former committeeman from Tabernacle Township in Burlington County who had a surprisingly strong showing in the 2008 primary, says he will definitely run again.  And he’s not cowed by Jon Runyan, the football star who the Burlington County GOP has recruited and already rolled out to seek the party nod to challenge U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill).

“Two words come to mind: Lynn Swann,” said Murphy, referring to the football hall-of-famer who ran as a Republican against Democrat Ed Rendell in the 2006 Pennsylvania governor’s race.  He wound up losing by 20 points.

“He was a good looking candidate, gave a good first impression, had some money, but was a disaster. That was an embarrassing double digit loss for the Republicans,” said Murphy.

“If the scenario unfolds where Jon Runyan faces Justin Murphy for the nomination, I can guarantee you I will be the nominee,” said Murphy.  “I’m not trying to be a trash talker on that. I can tell you why in one word: abortion.  If there is a choice between one pro-choice candidate and one pro-life candidate in this election, the base of the party will support me.”

Complicating the issue are two factors, Ocean County Chairman George Gilmore and a group of insurgents who call themselves Traditional Republicans of Ocean County (TROOC).  Gilmore, whose machine gave Chris Christie a 70,000 vote margin, hasn’t decided yet if he will back Runyan or put up his own candidate.  The unreconstructed Reaganistas over at TROOC came close to knocking off the machine candidates in the primary two years ago with Justin Murphy on their ballot line getting 30% of the vote in Ocean County.

Obviously Adler benefits from all this bloodletting, especially if it becomes a competitive three-way race like two years ago and with the Taliban wing of the GOP pitted against against the RINO establishment.

An abortion litmus test, unless they can self fund

It’s amazing to watch the Republicans twist and turn sometimes in order to get around the stands they take on issues. For the Burlington County GOP, it appears that abortion is only a litmus test when the candidate doesn’t have alot of money:

In case Ocean County does not field a candidate and Runyan becomes the establishment-backed favorite, Murphy thinks being pro-choice will bring the former Eagles tackle down.

“If the scenario unfolds where Jon Runyan faces Justin Murphy for the nomination, I can guarantee you I will be the nominee,” said Murphy.  “I’m not trying to be a trash talker on that. I can tell you why in one word: abortion.  If there is a choice between one pro-choice candidate and one pro-life candidate in this election, the base of the party will support me.”

Burlington County GOP Chairman Bill Layton argued that the abortion issue won’t be a deal breaker with Republican primary voters.

The conservatives aren’t going to like that answer. We’re going to have to remember that abortion isn’t a deal breaker on the right the next time they bring back the litmus test when the candidate isn’t bringing a brinks truck to the campaign. They’ll use life to incite and then try to selectively claim it’s a non issue when the candidate can pay for a few extra mailers. Those are some principles. Somewhere George Gilmore is throwing things right now as he continues to hear Layton make declarations about what the party does and doesn’t need.

It’s all about the money for Layton

It’s becoming clearer by the day that Burlington County GOP chairman Bill Layton and his boss Glenn Paulsen don’t really care where Jon Runyan stands on the issues, they’re just seeing dollar signs:

“Adler’s been raising money for a year. That’s why Jon Runyan is a game changer for us. He has the ability to raise just as much money as John Adler,” Layton said. “I clearly think that out of all the candidates, Jon Runyan is our best chance to take back the 3rd District.”

You see it doesn’t matter where Runyan stands on anything as long as he has the money to get the GOP back the power they had and lost. While Layton is clearly looking for a handout, George Gilmore doesn’t seem intimidated by the fundraising challenge that Adler presents without a self funding candidate. This is going to be a reporters dream with Layton and Gilmore not wanting the other to get the last word.  I’m amazed someone higher up in the Republican party hasn’t stepped up to tell them keep their fights outside of the media. It really seems like the up front aggressive approach taken by Layton and Runyan is making Gilmore want to fight more, just out of protecting his reputation. Not that I mind. Let them spend all their money fighting about money.

Plenty of time to avoid a primary… as long as you agree with me

Ocean County GOP Chair George Gilmore must be getting madder with each passing moment. I wrote about the pending civil war that is ready to break out over who will challenge John Adler the other day. Burlington County GOP Chair Bill Layton just can’t help himself and when it’s not Jon Runyan talking directly, Layton is making sure no story goes without a quote:

Layton, for his part, acknowledged that he supports Jon Runyan, but said there remains plenty of time to avoid a primary.

“To me it remains the same. Jon Runyan is the best candidate.  So at some point we need to convince others of that, and that process is still taking place,” he said.  “If Jon Runyan was an Ocean County guy, I’d be with Jon Runyan.  Jon Runyan is the best candidate for the race.  It’s about winning back the seat, not whether the guy is from Burlington, Ocean or Camden.”

Gilmore said that he did not read any of Runyan’s interviews and would wait until he has to comment.

Oh to be a fly on the wall when Gilmore finally reads the interviews. This has the real potential to be a fun one to watch. It sounds like Layton is telling Gilmore that there is plenty of time to avoid a primary as long as he agrees Runyan is the man. I don’t think George Gilmore is used to that type of ultimatum.

Civil War brewing for the GOP shot in the 3rd Congressional District

After going back and forth, Jon Runyan now says he’s in for 2010 and is ready to be the GOP candidate for Congress against John Adler:

“I’m definitely 100 percent in this race,” the Mount Laurel resident said from San Diego, where he plays for the NFL’s Chargers.

That approach and attitude s making Ocean County GOP Boss George Gilmore none to pleased:

“If he wants to announce that he’s running and is the candidate no matter what then he is sadly mistaken,” said George Gilmore, chairman of the Ocean County Republican Organization. “I expressed the fact that we were all going to try to take a deep breath and allow time to pass and try to reach a consensus on a candidate. To the extent that anyone disrupts that, I’m disappointed.”

He continued to express his displeasure about Runyan’s approach:

“There are three counties which award the line for the primary, and I would expect that anyone seeking to run to achieve a nomination from all three counties would be doing so in a manner that would try to bring all three counties together. So I’m a little disheartened about his comments,” Gilmore said.

And there are signals that Gilmore may stilll have a candidate of his own in mind even though Senator Connors has said he does not plan to run:

While Gilmore is unhappy that Runyan is making the media rounds before getting the county chairs’ nod, Toms River Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill has been vocal about his intent to run.

“If it comes down to a primary and I’m supported by two of the county chairmen, that’s something to be determined,” he said of the prospect of an intraparty battle. “Having the support of two out of three counties is a different ballgame than one out of three.”

“Anyone who underestimates Mo Hill and his abilities is making a major mistake,” Gilmore said. “He presents himself very well, he knows the issues inside and out, and his military background is a plus. There’s a very large veterans population in Ocean County.”

And then there was this exchange from the county chairs, which unfortunately was buried deep at the end of the online article on page 5:

“I think Jon Runyan’s getting poor political advice about how to get the counties’ support,” said Gilmore, in a clear shot across the bow at Layton and Russell.

“We thought it was important for the public to hear from Jon directly,” said Russell, who also managed Chris Myers’ campaign. “I don’t see anything wrong about him communicating to the public how he feels about the issues, like heatlh care and taxes.”

“I had thought we were all going to work together to achieve common ground. Apparently there are some people who feel it’s either their candidate or no candidate,” Gilmore fumed. “Though I don’t want a primary, I’m not afraid of a primary.”

Don’t forget Justin Murphy who also ran in 2008 out of Burlington County. Primaries are not always a bad thing, but this doesn’t seem to be about the issues. We don’t even know where Runyan stands on many of the issues. This seems to be about who has the power for the Republicans. If this keeps going in the direction it’s moving, you can just get your popcorn ready for NJ3 GOP primary part 2 – the fight to make 08 look like a tea party.

Connors expected to announce he won’t run for Congress, but Runyan says he will again

There has been a good deal of talk and speculation about who will step up to challenge John Adler for his Congressional seat. Now it appears we have one name out and one name back in. First we have State Senator Chris Connors ready to take a pass:

State Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Lacey) is expected to announce — possibly as early as next week — that he will not seek the Republican nomination for Congress in District 3.  Connors was the first choice of Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore, but has never seemed excited about the prospect of going to Washington.  That might leave retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Maurice “Mo” Hill, a Toms River Ward Councilman, as the Ocean County Republican organization candidate, unless Gilmore decides to go with ex-NFL player Jon Runyan.

We’ll have to see what Mo Hill and others have to say about their potential runs, but  then we also have Runyan jumping back in the Congressional candidate kiddie pool:

“Yup, as soon as this season is over. Hopefully, it’s a little bit later than sooner,” Runyan quipped in a telephone interview from the hometown of his newly adopted NFL team. Later than sooner, because Runyan hopes to get another crack at a Super Bowl ring this winter.

But come February, “I intend to retire from football and enter the Congressional race,” Runyan said.

As for whether he intends to finance his own campaign, “That’s something I have to sit down and discuss with my wife,” Runyan explained. “I haven’t really got there, I know it’s going to take some amount of money. … To win the race, it’s going to cost multiple millions of dollars.”

When Runyan first arrived in San Diego after being signed, he said he was just exploring his options and that he “hadn’t fully committed to that yet.” Whether or not he decides to self finance could play a big factor in if he gets the support of George Gilmore in Ocean County or if we see a primary for the seat. And then Republicans will still have to see where he stands on the issues too.

Runyan makes Palin look brainy

3rd district GOP congressional candidate Jon Runyan explained to an interviewer recently why he’s still playing football instead of discussing issues like health care and Afghanistan:

“I kind of came [to San Diego] to just kind of prove my point to people telling me that I could not recover from this knee injury and play football again.”

After reading this interview I don’t think Adler has anything to worry about.

Gilmore not sold on Runyan, says there is a process to go through

George Gilmore doesn’t seem to have much patience for the tap dance that Jon Runyan is performing on whether he plans to run for Congress. Contradicting his original statement, Runyan announced he wasn’t fully committed to running and was exploring his options. That sent the Burlington County GOP into spin mode trying to explain the discrepancy:

Russell, however, said the response was the mark of a different kind of congressional candidate-one who has a playful relationship with the press and is not dependent on “canned sound bites” – even if all of his statements so far about his congressional run have been just that.

“When he gets back here and when he starts running, you’re going to see a guy who’s pretty candid and likes interacting wit the press,” said Russell.

But lets play that out. If as Runyan hopes, San Diego were to make it to the Super Bowl, Runyan wouldn’t be getting back to start running until mid February. The uncertainty doesn’t seem to be sitting well with the Ocean County GOP boss:

“I’m not convinced that if he’s offered a contract next year to play for the San Diego chargers or anything else he’s going to say no,” said Gilmore, who added that he believes Russell is “desperate to have the guy run.”

Gilmore has his own short list of candidates, including state Sen. Christopher Connors (R-Lacey Twp), Toms River Councilman Moe Hill and former State Lottery Commissioner Virginia “Ginny Haines.”  Gilmore said there are also a couple other potential candidates who do not want their names floated publicly yet.  

“I’m not simply going to say ‘Oh yes, Jon Runyan is our guy.’  There are a lot of good people out there, including Moe Hill, Chris Connors and Ginny Haines. It doesn’t matter how many statements Jon Runyan puts out, it’s going to be the same answer: we have a process and we’re going to go through it.”

I think it’s funny that Gilmore is already pointing out how desperate the Burlington County GOP are to have Runyan at the top of the ticket. It doesn’t seem he shares that same enthusiasm at all. Remember, there was a bitter primary between the Ocean and Burlington County GOP from which Chris Myers emerged last time around. He had spent significant resources in the primary and fought an uphill battle against John Adler in the General. So either Gilmore isn’t sold on Runyan or he really likes his process and wants to see Runyan jump through the hoops it involves.

Reaction to Runyan: “If the Terminator can be Governor of California…”

How about this description about what a potential challenge to John Adler’s Congressional seat from Jon Runyan might look like from a physicial comparison:

Should Runyan and Adler face off in the general election, it would be a match of clear physical contrasts. Runyan is listed at 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds. Adler, D-3, stands 5-foot-9 and weighs less than half that, coming in at less than 160 pounds, according to Greco.

Not as if that will factor into the race as much as who has the bigger warchest. But not all the people who played with him expected this turn in Runyan’s career:

“He never struck me as a politician,” Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said, “but if the ‘Terminator’ can become governor of California, then Jon Runyan can run for Congress.”

I don’t know if that’s exactly a ringing endorsement of Runyan. More important than what Runyan says or the people who played with him say, is what the Ocean County chair George Gilmore believes. He doesn’t seem sold on Runyan running yet:

“If he has a good season with the Chargers, they might offer him a (new) contract,” Gilmore said. “Just because he says he’s running for Congress, it doesn’t mean he will.”

Well now he doesn’t even say he’s fully committed to running, just that he’s exploring. And that’s before he gets another contract offer.