NFL player Jon Runyan confirmed Tuesday night that he will challenge freshman Rep. John Adler (D) in New Jersey’s 3rd district next year.
Runyan, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, also announced that he had signed on to play the rest of the season with the San Diego Chargers and will then jump into the campaign.
“I personally informed the Republican County Chairmen in NJ’s 3rd Congressional District that after the season is over I plan to officially retire from football and pursue a campaign for the United States Congress,— he said in a statement.
Runyan indicated earlier this month that he was looking at the race. And while his football playing may keep him off the campaign trail for a few more months, he has the capacity to self-fund and a head start in name recognition thanks to his days as an Eagle.
Other Republicans are likely to get into the race, said one GOP operative with knowledge of the party’s activities in the district, though he declined to publicize who they are.
Adler won a close contest in 2008 for the seat left open by retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R) and is already a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline— program for vulnerable incumbents. President Barack Obama narrowly won the district over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential race, 52 percent to 47 percent.
Republicans are already trying to paint Adler as being “too far to the left.—
“He has a nearly flawless partisan voting record which has not spurred job creation,— said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tory Mazzola.