Congressional Quarterly says this U.S. House race is a toss-up. Still, John Adler was one of the Democrats the party listed as vulnerable this time around, so he’s been getting some extra assistance. He faces Republican challenger Jon Runyan, a former NFL player and political novice, who’s giving him a tough go for it. But it appears that Adler pull slightly ahead.
Candidates for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District (two-year term)
(This district includes parts of Burlington, Ocean and Camden counties, and the cities of Mt. Holly and Cherry Hill. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: John Adler
Political experience: Adler was first a member of the Cherry Hill Town Council. He was then a member of the New Jersey state senate, representing the 6th District from 1992 to 2009. He has held his current position in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving New Jersey’s 3rd District, since 2009.
Professional experience: Adler is an attorney, but he has spent almost all of his adult life in public service.
Key issues: According to his website, Adler is focused on jobs, fiscal accountability and support for seniors and veterans as his top priorities. He opposed the bank bailout and wants to hold financial institutions responsible for their failures. He wants to increase lending and reduce bureaucracy that he feels is holding back the growth of small business. He is a strong supporter of the GI Bill and veteran’s benefits.
Endorsements: Adler is endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club, among others.
Chances of maintaining his seat: It’s been looking better in recent weeks. Adler’s district leans Democratic, so he should have had an advantage to begin with. But, instead, he has had a tough time. Polls taken at the end of September suggest he may be pulling ahead just slightly, so look for him to continue to focus on Runyan’s alleged shady money deals and lack of political experience in order to win. In the money race, by mid summer, Adler had raised $2,456,042 to Runyan’s $654,434.
Candidate: Jon Runyan
Political experience: If elected, this will be Runyan’s first political office.
Professional experience: Runyan was a player in the NFL from 1996 to 2009, when he retired. He played for Tennessee, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Key issues: According to his website, Runyan is focused on cutting taxes across the board by 15 percent, a move he says will increase federal revenues, and cutting corporate taxes by 25 percent to stimulate job growth. He wants to see a balanced federal budget by cutting government spending. He favors congressional term limits.
Endorsements: Runyan is endorsed by the NRA, Mitt Romney and Ocean County Republicans, among others.
Chances of unseating John Adler: He has a fair shot. Poll results in late September appear mixed, but it looks like he might be in a little trouble in this Democrat-leaning district. Look for him to continue to paint Adler as an out-of-touch career politician to gain back his edge for the win.
Key Differences between Jon Runyan and John Adler
Jobs: Adler favors stronger lending for small business and reduced red tape. Runyan leans toward tax cuts as an incentive for business.
Health care: Runyan opposes the federal health care reform, preferring instead an open-market system that he believes will lower costs by encouraging competition. Adler is focusing on veteran’s medical benefits and VA health care procedures.
Shore tourism and communities: Adler advocates road and business projects that will bring more tourists to the shore. Runyan wants to fight for federal dollars for beach replenishment.
New Jersey‘s 3rd U.S. Congressional District
Location: The New Jersey 3rd District is a broad band of the south-central portion of the state, stretching from the Pennsylvania border north of Camden and south of Trenton to the Jersey shore.
2008 results: Adler defeated Republican Chris Myers 52 percent to 48 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 80 percent of the district is white, 9 percent black, 5.2 percent Hispanic, 3.7 percent Asian, and 0.1 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.
The Cook Partisan Index gives the New Jersey 3rd District a rating of R+6, an advantage to Republican candidates.