If Republicans can’t beat John Adler in 2010, chances are they never will. If Adler wins a second term, watch for mapmakers to take take some heavily Republican Ocean County towns out of his district when new congressional districts are drawn for the 2012 elections. Adler scored a 52%-48% victory last week over Republican Christopher Myers for the seat of retiring twelve term U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton — a seat Democrats hadn’t won since 1882.
Republican insiders say that Myers isn’t likely to get a second shot at the seat, and that the favorite candidate could be former major league baseball pitcher Al Leiter. Leiter, a Toms River native who has said he wants to run for office someday, has turned down several offers to seek U.S. Senate and House seats in recent years. Other possible Adler opponents include: State Sen. Diane Allen (who must first heal wounds in a very fractured Burlington County Republican organization); State Sen. Phil Haines; Assemblywoman Dawn Addiego; Assemblyman Brian Rumpf; and Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly, who lost the ’08 GOP primary to Myers.
As for the 49-year-old Adler, don’t expect him to spend the rest of his life in the House. South Jersey Democrats expect that he’ll look to run statewide in a few years, possibly for Governor in 2013 or U.S. Senator in 2014. Adler has now replaced Rob Andrews as South Jersey’s best shot at winning a statewide election.