Chris Christie's big night aside, last night wasn't a very good night for the New Jersey GOP. Despite his big win, Christie turned out to have zero coattails as the Dems easily kept control of both houses of the state legislature with the bare minimum of change (one seat in the Assembly, none in the Senate), a humiliating turn of events that might cost Tom Kean Jr. his post as Minority Leader after his boasts of reclaiming the Senate blew up in his face. And now they get this further bad bit of news:
U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan, a Republican who went from the gridiron to Capitol hill, announced today he will not seek re-election to Congress.Runyan, the former Philadelphia Eagles standout, was first elected as part of the GOP wave in 2010, unseating the late Jon Adler and won reelection last fall against Adler's widow. Why is he quitting? According to him, the usual "spend more time with the family" excuse:
“After a great deal of thought and discussions with my family, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2014. Politics shouldn't be a career and I never intended to make it one,” Runyan said. “ While it has truly been an honor to serve the people of New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, at this stage in my life, and more importantly, the lives of my three children, spending time with them is my top priority. As I serve out the rest of my term, I will continue to work hard on behalf of the people of South Jersey."Another reason, however, may be this:
Runyan, a moderate, grew frustrated with his party's decision to shut down the government over Obamacare, calling the move "utterly ridiculous."I don't know if I'd call Runyan a moderate, but I did notice he was always lukewarm at best about the shutdown.
Whatever his reasons, this is another GOP seat now in play next year. Both the Cook Political Report and Rothenberg Political Report have moved the race to "Tossup" status (with Runyan it had been either "safe GOP" or "likely GOP"). Expect this race to move now to the top-tier of Dem targets for next November.
And coming not long after the even more unexpected retirement of Tim Griffin, one can only wonder if more Republicans are going to follow his and Runyan's example. It's just a trickle, but will it turn into a flood? Time will tell.