New Jersey: 3rd District GOP Hopes to Unify Against Adler

Posted December 14, 2009 at 6:42pm

New Jersey Republican officials hope to come together to support one challenger to freshman Rep. John Adler (D) by January or February, at the latest.

“It is extremely important for us to avoid a primary, and that is our No. 1 goal,— Burlington County Republican Chairman William Layton said.

“I share that hope,— Camden County Chairman Richard DeMichele said.

The issue, however, is whether the three counties that make up the district — Burlington, Ocean and Camden — can rally around one candidate. Ocean and Burlington make up the majority of the district, while Camden’s party committee could be a tiebreaker if the two big counties disagree.

Layton is personally backing Jon Runyan, a lineman with the San Diego Chargers football team and previously with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Layton and Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore are both involved with Gov.-elect Chris Christie’s (R) transition, so any decision is likely to be after Christie’s inauguration in mid-January.

Other candidates who have approached or been approached by GOP officials regarding the race include Toms River Councilman Maurice Hill, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Leibowitz, state Assemblyman Scott Rudder and state Sen. Christopher Connors.

Party officials said do not expect interested candidates to pursue a primary if they do not get the backing of the county parties.