Democrats are devilishly making the case that Burlington County freeholder candidate Mike Schmidt should receive a boost on the countywide ticket this year because he bears the same name as the famous Hall of Fame Third baseman who played for 18 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.
But what about the real sports heroes who ran for public office in South Jersey and the Pennsylvania area over the course of the last decade?
The former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver with a Nutcracker Suite ballerina-like vertical leap ran for governor in 2006 as a Republican and lost to Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell, 40-60%.
Arguably the most impressive track and field Olympian of all time, Lewis in 2011 announced his decision to run against state Senator Dawn Marie Addiego (R-8). The bid didn’t go far, as Secretary of State Kim Guadagno upended his candidacy by proving that Lewis had not been a legal resident of New Jersey for a sufficient period of time to qualify as a senate candidate.
The former Philadelphia Eagle in 2014 announced his challenge for the congressional seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (R-1). Cobb’s up on Tuesday, a Republican long-shot in a Democratic district straddled by state Sen. Donald Norcross (D-5), the Democratic nominee in the First District. Most political experts expect a comfortable victory for Norcross.
Originally from Flint, Michigan, the former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman – a transplant to Mount Laurel – surprised South Jerseyans with his 2010 challenge of incumbent U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-3). Runyan beat Adler on a wave of Obama backlash, then defeated the late former congressman’s wife before announcing prior to this current campaign cycle that he would not pursue re-election.
The former Hall of Fame third baseman (pictured, above) did not run for a freeholder seat in Burlington County this year, but a former Evesham councilman, a Democrat and an engineer by trade with the same name, did. Running with Tom Pullion, Schmidt’s up against a Republican ticket of incumbent Freeholder Bruce Garganio and former Freeholder Mary Ann O’Brien.
1 loss; 1 no-contest; 1 win; and two undecideds.