With news that freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) has raised more money than any other incumbent in a potentially competitive 2010 race during the first quarter of 2009, it is worth noting that Republicans still don’t have a candidate to challenge him in a district that they held from 1884 until 2008. Adler beat Medford Mayor Christopher Myers 52%-48% for the seat of Republican James Saxton, who retired after twelve terms in Congress.
Adler raised $464,125 last quarter and has $426,587 cash on hand. Republicans think they can beat Adler next year, but the National Republican Congressional Committee sent signals earlier this year that they want the candidate in place soon so that he or she can begin fundraising. That’s what Adler did in 2006, before Saxton had announced his intention to retire. If the third district Republican candidate does not meet certain early fundraising goals, sources say that the NRCC might not become fully engaged in the race, according to one House Republican staffer familiar with NRCC operations.
So far, one candidate has said he expects to run: former Tabernacle Committeeman Justin Murphy, who surprised political observers last year when he won 25.2% of the vote in the Republican primary for Congress. Murphy finished third, just 37 votes behind Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly, who had the powerful organization line in Ocean.
Most insiders expect that State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Edgewater Park), widely viewed as the strongest possible challenger, will pass on a race against Adler. Possible candidates include Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-Little Egg Harbor), Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Evesham), millionaire businessman John Culbertson, and Myers. Former major league baseball pitcher Al Leiter, a Toms River native with political ambitions, told PolitickerNJ.com last year that he would not be a candidate for Congress in 2010.