While New Jersey operatives continued to process Tuesday's election results, Republican Rep. Jon Runyan's surprise retirement announcement in the 3rd District set off swirls of speculation of who could run for his seat.
Democrats already indicated they wanted to target the seat, but an open-seat race gives the party a much better opportunity to win it. Upon the Runyan announcement, the Rothenberberg Political Report quickly moved the seat from Safe Republican to Tossup.
Democrats are circulating two names as potential candidates for the seat — the most prominent of which is Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard. She filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in mid-October and, according to a news release, is scheduled to announce her campaign on Thursday.
Assemblyman Herb Conaway is also mulling a run, according to PolitickerNJ. But national Democrats have proved that
. But national Democrats have proved that they have very little patience for primaries in competitive districts.
The primary excitement will more than likely be on the Republican side. Although any potential GOP candidate names are purely speculative, Republicans mentioned the following as folks who could run in Runyan's stead:
- Evesham Township Mayor Randy Brown. He confirmed his interest in running to PolitickerNJ.
- Burlington County Freeholder Director Joseph Donnelly
- State Sen. Dawn Addiego
- Former Burlington County Freeholder Aubrey Fenton
- State Sen. Christopher J. Connors
- Toms River Township Councilman Maurice "Mo" Hill Jr.
- Berkeley Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr.
What matters in New Jersey primaries, though, is balloting process. County committees have enormous power in putting preferential candidates on advantageous positions on the ballot. Neither chairmen for the 3rd District's two county Republican parties immediately returned calls to CQ Roll Call on Wednesday.