The field of potential Burlington County candidates to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton cleared up today, with Republican National Committeeman David Norcross and Freeholder Aubrey Fenton both removing their names from consideration and throwing their support behind the county’s presumptive favorite candidate, Lockheed Martin Vice President Chris Myers.
Myers, 42, is the chosen candidate of Burlington County GOP power broker Glenn Paulsen, and has the tacit approval of Saxton. He now looks almost certain to become that county’s candidate.
Norcross, 64, was considered a top tier potential challenger. A prolific fundraiser, Norcross has a long political resume as a former U.S. Senate candidate and GOP state chairman. He currently serves as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s New Jersey campaign.
Until today, Norcross had been silent about the prospect of running for congress.
“I am honored by the calls of encouragement I received about a run for Congress following Jim Saxton’s retirement announcement a few short weeks ago, but after careful consideration I’ve decided now is not the right time for me to seek federal office,” said Norcross in a statement. “….After looking at the field, I’ve decided that conservative businessman Chris Myers is by far the best candidate to accomplish that goal.”
Norcross also took a swipe at likely Democratic congressional nominee John Adler.
The last thing we need is liberal, Trenton Democrat John Adler taking his high-taxing, big spending agenda to Washington, DC.”
Fenton’s name was raised early on by Paulsen as an alternative to state Sen. Diane Allen, who has since dropped her name for consideration. Fenton, a pastor, was touted by Paulsen as more in line with the national party’s socially conservative stances, and, since he’s African-American, as someone whose minority status could reach traditionally Democratic voters.
Fenton said that his priorities were with his church, family and county government.
“So I’m going to continue those pursuits while placing my support behind another Burlington County candidate who can and will win, and will serve us well,” said Fenton.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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