The San Diego Chargers’ playoff loss to the Jets yesterday means that Chargers tackle Jon Runyan is about to shift into full-time campaign mode for the Republican congressional nomination in the 3rd District.
But don’t expect to see him at Gov.-elect Chris Christie’s inauguration tomorrow.
“It’s highly unlikely that he would be able to attend the inauguration, because there are some obligations over there he has to fulfill first,” said Runyan campaign manager Chris Russell. “Frankly I think he would have been excited to do it.”
Russell said that Runyan, a Mount Laurel resident who has been living in a San Diego hotel while finishing up his career with the Chargers, still has some administrative issues to take care of with the team, including an exit physical, before he can hop on a plane back to New Jersey. He is not expected to return until at least mid-week.
“When he gets back we’ll sit down and (plan) things out,” said Russell, who was not sure when Runyan’s first public appearance would be. “He’s really focused on trying to get the support of all three county parties.”
Runyan has been working the phones from California to shore up support for his run. He has the all-but-official endorsement of the Burlington County Republican Committee, but it remains to be seen whether the powerful Ocean County Republican Organization will field a candidate. Toms River Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill, a dentist and retired Navy Rear Admiral, is the favorite of that organization’s insiders. David Liebowitz, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York, and Toms River businessman Joseph Rullo also plan to screen in Ocean County.
Former Tabernacle Committeeman Justin Murphy, who ran in the 2008 primary, plans to run again.
Whoever wins the Republican nomination in June will face freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) in November.