In his first public statement since returning to New Jersey after finishing his football career in San Diego, former NFL star Jon Runyan said that he will continue to focus on shoring up GOP support to become the Republican Party’s candidate against U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill).
Runyan is not expected to face a competitive primary challenge now that Toms River Councilman Maurice “Mo” Hill has endorsed Runyan instead of seeking the party nod.
“I had a great conversation with Mo Hill at the Ocean County Screening Committee this past Saturday. Mo is a good man, and I deeply respect his years of service to our country and his community,” Runyan, of Mount Laurel, said in a written statement. “I am humbled and honored by his support for my candidacy. In the coming days and weeks, I will continue reaching out to Republicans across the congressional district to earn their support and convince them that I am the best candidate to beat John Adler in November.”
The 6’7, 330-pound Runyan was a tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles between 2000 and 2008. He underwent surgery for a micro fracture to his knee and was not resigned in 2009, instead finishing up the season – and his sports career — as a backup for the San Diego Chargers.
Although he came out of the box as a candidate in November as the Burlington County GOP’s preferred candidate, Runyan still had to win over Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore, who remained skeptical about his candidacy. He deliberately kept a low profile through the screening process, attending the Ocean County Republicans’ screening committee meetings and reaching out to party leaders while not making public statements or raising money.