New Jersey: GOP Field for Saxton’s Seat Is Still Shaking Out

Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:32pm

Three weeks after Rep. Jim Saxton’s (R) surprising retirement announcement, the scramble to find a GOP successor to the 13-term Congressman remains in flux, even as some political pundits are starting to give Democrats the advantage in the highly competitive district.

Late last week, state Sen. Diane Allen (R) — who appeared to be an early frontrunner — told local papers that she had decided not to seek the seat. She said her decision stemmed in part from continued infighting among officials within the Burlington County Republican Party. Burlington County makes up about 45 percent of the 3rd district and holding down GOP votes in the county is considered essential for any Republican candidate.

At the same time that Allen was taking her name out of the race, Christopher Myers (R), a Burlington resident who is a vice president for Lockheed Martin and has served in local political office, was rising to the top of some Republican short lists for the seat. Myers, a veteran of the Gulf War with strong ties to the defense industry, could do well in the district with several large military installations. On Friday, Myers told politicsnj.com, which tracks Garden State races, that he was forming a campaign team and plans on running.

“The voters of New Jersey’s 3rd district want someone who speaks to the needs of the local economy and who supports our men and women in uniform,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said. “Diane Allen would have been an attractive option, but we feel confident that a top-flight candidate will be emerging in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Carrie James said the strong campaign of state Sen. John Adler (D) is the reason Republicans are taking a pass on this race.

“Diane Allen’s decision not to run for Congress is yet another NRCC recruitment failure showing how President Bush’s unpopularity hurts Republicans’ ability to generate any excitement or support,” James said. “People of all political stripes are already supporting John Adler.”

— John McArdle