Its no secret by our constant coverage of the race, but we at Save Jersey think that NJ-3 may be the most important election in New Jersey this year. On some level this is obvious, John Adler rode the Obama wave of 2008 and took over a seat that has been Republican for longer than anyone alive can claim to remember. He attacked Meyers last year by incorrectly tying him to a then-unpopular President Bush and drowning the district in money from the Democrat machines of South Jersey. He was the benficiary of dirty money and political circumstances. He is not an accurate representation of the constituents of the 3rd district. Adler pretends to be a moderate, and even sometimes a conservative Democrat, when it is politically popular to do so, just to keep his seat. If he defeats Jon Runyan this year, he will have another 18 months to act like a liberal lap dog for the Democrat leadership, and then swing back into campaign mode as a fiscally responsible candidate. That would be terrible for NJ-3, terrible for New Jersey as a whole, and finally, terrible for America. But, Save Jerseyans, thats not what keeps me up at night about this race. I am looking a little further down the road.
It is no secret that the Democrat machines in our fine state have been searching, since before Chris Christie’s election, for a formidable challenger for 2013. Let’s be honest, even they knew that Corzine didn’t stand a chance at re-election. Names are always being thrown around in different circles. With the current change in political mood sweeping this state and the nation, a careful selection will need to be made. Someone who can have statewide appeal, with post-partisan appeal, or at least the perception of it.
As I said, names get thrown around. We have Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a man that seems like he would certainly make the short list, although his recent friendship with the Governor and the current Newark budget situation wont help within his party. There’s also Senate President Steve Sweeney. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. At this point he feels entitled and his eventually quivering but initially hardline approach on all of Christie’s reform measures could at least give him some form of tough guy reputation that may gain him some favor. Being from North and South Jersey, these guys will clash in a primary at some point down the road, and to be quite honest, I don’t fear that either of them will make it to Drumthwacket. However, if the unthinkable happens a week from today, there is a third man we should look out for.
If John Adler shows that he can win re-election in the traditionally conservative 3rd District, it sends a message to Democrat bosses throughout New Jersey. Their corrupt mouths will salivate at the thought of a candidate who can appeal to both the liberal Cherry Hill Democrat and the conservative (or at least moderate) Ocean County Republican and defeat a former football star with astronomical name recognition. They will instantly roll over at the possibility of fielding a candidate who can somehow obtain endorsements from both small business and realtors, but still keep favor with the Huffington Post. An election like this gives John Adler something that he hasn’t had in a long time: credibility. That he can, despite his unethical and borderline illegal campaign tactics, convince voters that he is the exact opposite of what his record shows. He would be billed to the public as an independent fiscal conservative who could continue much of Christie’s work but in our states more traditional shade of blue, while being presented to Democrat smoke filled rooms as a formerly unimpressive state senator (c’mon…can you name one thing he did other than no smoking indoors legislation?) who beat a giant (or Eagle?) in the biggest anti-incumbent year ever, and is now ready to take on another.
There is only one way to stop this dystopian nightmare. Jon Runyan must be elected to represent the 3rd Congressional District next week. The only way to stop John Adler from getting his hands on all of us it to get his hands out of Burlington and Ocean Counties. In a recent endorsement by the Courier Post, the editorial board said that Runyan “espouses the ideals of fiscal conservatism that should match with a majority of the voters in this district,” and that “in a choice between experience and honesty, give us honesty every time.” They could not be more right. Runyan, while admittedly not the best public speaker, has shown exactly what he is for: lower taxes, less spending, smaller government, and a friendlier business climate for New Jersey and America. Are these political bromides, especially in a year like this one? Of course they are! But they are bromides that will get this country back on track, to save our economy and leave that pile of debt for our children at least a little smaller.
I know there are tons of important races going on this year, but this toss up needs the support of everyone that cares about New Jersey, because as goes the 3rd District, so goes New Jersey. You can quote me on that in 2013.