The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced today that they have “officially” put GOP congressional candidate Jon Runyan on their radar in his bid to unseat freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill). This is a district that has not re-elected a Democratic Congressman since 1852; Republican Christopher Christie carried it by 21 percentage points when he ousted Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine last year. So it makes you wonder if the NRCC is just a little behind the eight ball on this one, or do they know something the rest of us don’t by stopping short of putting Adler at the top of their target list.
For the record, the top five New Jersey opportunities the NRCC has failed to recognize:
5. Paul Danielczyk, raising a total of just $8,887, came within 5,598 votes of ousting five-term U.S. Rep. Bernard Dwyer (D-Edison) in 1990.
4. Fuller Brooks, a Republican who won 48% of the vote against five-term incumbent Edward Patten (D-Perth Amboy) in 1972.
3. Charles Wiley, a Republican prominent in national conservative circles, who lost to Patten by a 48%-46% margin in 1978.
2. Anthony Campenni, a Jersey City Republican, came with 6,855 votes of beating Assembly Speaker Joseph LeFante (D-Bayonne) for an open House seat in a Hudson County district.
1. Paul Kapalko, an Asbury Park Councilman (and for a couple of weeks after the 1989 election, an Assemblyman), who held freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch) to a 49%-46% win in 1990.
Runyan is surely on the target list, it’s just that the national GOP is playing the expectations game.