Shelley Adler, widow of former Democratic U.S. Rep. John Adler, announced today that she will run against Republican incumbent Jon Runyan for New Jersey's 3rd District Congressional seat.
“For several months, I weighed running for the seat formerly held by my late husband to continue his legacy of public service," said Adler in a statement run in several news outlets across the state. "When I speak to people, they share their struggles with me and are frustrated by politicians playing games in Washington. They want a new direction.
“In Congress, I will fight to create new jobs and to restore accountability by rooting out wasteful spending. I will also push for tax incentives to help small businesses create jobs in new industries, to improve benefits for our veterans, and to preserve benefits for our seniors.”
PolitickerNJ broke the story Sunday evening, reporting that Adler would announce her bid today. The online political news site points out that if elected, Adler would be only the sixth woman elected to Congress in New Jersey and the first to represent a South Jersey district.
John Adler served a single term as U.S. Representative for the 3rd District, which then included parts Camden County in addition to Burlington and Ocean counties, before losing the seat to Runyan in 2010. Adler died of complications from bacterial infection following heart surgery last April.
“I welcome Mrs. Adler into the race,” said Rep. Runyan in an emailed statement today. “If she is ultimately the Democratic nominee, I look forward to a spirited campaign on the issues that matter to the residents of Burlington and Ocean counties."
Runyan said he'd continue to focus on "President Obama's failed big-government agenda," job creation, strengthening Medicare and supporting veterans.
A Runyan consultant pointed out in the news release that Shelley Adler doesn't currently live in the newly reconfigured third district, which saw her Camden County town of Cherry Hill sliced off in the redistricting shuffle of last year.
"After the Carl Lewis fiasco and the public backlash towards him, you would think candidates would be more wary of seeking elected office in a district that they don't actually live in," said Chris Russell, referring to Lewis' ultimate withdrawal of his name from a New Jersey State Senate ballot following a controversy over his place of residence.
A Record of Bergen County story on Adler's announcement notes that candidates in federal elections don't have to live in the district where they're running. The PolitickerNJ story claimed "a source said she plans to move into the district by the end of the year."
According to The Record, Adler will have "an uphill battle against Runyan" if she wins the Democratic nomination, because the 3rd District, already right-leaning, became even safer for Republicans after 2010's redistricting after losing Cherry Hill and gaining Brick.