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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
This is expected to be New Jersey's only competitive race in November, showcasing a vulnerable Democratic freshman against a longtime National Football League all-star.
A number of factors suggest Adler has the edge in this race, but he is among the many Democrats this cycle who could fall victim to an anti-incumbent wave.
Adler is among the most cash-rich Democrats in the nation, consistently reporting more than $1.5 million in cash on hand. And while GOP hopeful John Runyan accumulated considerable wealth over his NFL career, it remains to be seen whether he's willing to spend it to become a Congressman.
It's unlikely Runyan will get much help from national Republicans in this expensive media market, which includes Philadelphia and New York City.
Separate polls released near the end of September show that Adler's lead may be nearing double digits. Tea party favorite Peter DeStefano is expected to earn from 4 percent to 6 percent of the vote as well, cutting into Runyan's base.
Regardless of the early indications, expect this race to be competitive down the stretch. This is a district that President Barack Obama only narrowly carried in 2008.
District Profile from Politics in America
The 3rd District crosses the width of south-central New Jersey and takes in the entire political spectrum, from the solidly GOP shores of Ocean County to the traditionally Democratic Cherry Hill area in Camden County.
The environment is a perennial issue in Ocean County communities around Toms River, where the beach tourism industry is important. An expansion of the Garden State Parkway along much of the 3rd's coast has begun at the expense of hundreds of acres of trees that used to line the scenic drive -- locals worry about the project's ecological impact. Burlington County, most of which is in the 3rd, is one of the largest cranberry-producing counties in the nation. Towns in the western portion of the county rely on white-collar jobs.
Integration of McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and the Lakehurst naval station into a "mega-base" after the 2005 base realignment process brought thousands of new residents to the district. The presence of the joint base (shared with the 4th District) makes national defense a key issue here.
While Burlington leans Republican, the county's Democrats can combine with the 3rd's small share of Camden County to make elections here competitive. In 2008, Barack Obama took 52 percent of the district's presidential vote.
Retail, health care, agriculture, defense
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (shared with the 4th), 8,950 military, 3,815 civilian (2011)
Toms River (unincorporated), 88,791; Ocean Acres (unincorporated), 16,142
NFL Films is based in Mt. Laurel.
|2010||general||Jon Runyan (R)||110,215||50%|
|John Adler (D)||104,252||47.3%|
|Peter DeStefano (TEA)||3,284||1.5%|
|Russ Conger (LIBERT)||1,445||0.7%|
|Lawrence Donahue (YCA)||1,113||0.5%|
|2008||general||John Adler (D)||166,390||52.1%|
|Chris Myers (R)||153,122||47.9%|
|2006||general||H. Saxton (R)||122,559||58.4%|
|Rich Sexton (D)||86,113||41%|
|Ken Feduniewicz (TPM)||1,179||0.6%|
|2004||general||H. Saxton (R)||195,938||63.4%|
|Herb Conaway (D)||107,034||34.6%|
|Edward Forchion (LMP)||4,914||1.6%|
|Frank Orland (LIBERT)||976||0.3%|
|2002||general||H. Saxton (R)||123,375||65%|
|Richard Strada (D)||64,364||33.9%|
|Raymond Byrne (LIBERT)||1,335||0.7%|
|Ken Feduniewicz (AF)||665||0.4%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 52%||John McCain: 47%|
|2004||John Kerry: 48%||George W. Bush: 51%|
|2000||Al Gore: 55%||George W. Bush: 45%|