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Runyan's Run

New Jersey's Third Congressional District is officially up for grabs.

9:00 AM, Oct 27, 2010 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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The problem for Adler is, assuming the stunt was pulled without his knowledge, voters will end up taking out their frustrations on him. In fact, two new polls from yesterday indicate the race is tighter than ever. A Rutgers-Eagleton Institute poll shows both candidates at 44 percent. But the Monmouth University poll has Runyan in the lead, 48 percent to 43 percent. Even worse for Adler, as PolitickerNJ explains in the latter poll, "Runyan has a 50% to 37% advantage among independents, a bloc Adler claimed with a 43% to 32% edge last month. The poll also shows that Runyan has widened his lead in the Ocean County portion of the district to 54% to 37%, and 'nearly evened the playing field in Burlington County and Cherry Hill – trailing Adler there by just 3 points, 44% to 47%.'" One pollster, who asked to remain nameless, predicts Runyan will squeeze out a win because the momentum has shifted and the undecideds are breaking towards him.

This is not to say Adler is out. "He's got great turnout in the Democratic strongholds of Camden and Burlington County," says Thomas Kelaher, the mayor of Toms River. "The key will be for Ocean County to come out and vote for Runyan." Indeed, as Sharon Schulman, executive director of the Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton College, told me, "the most likely voters in our poll are coming from Ocean County. Christie is enormously popular there. And if he's got any coattails..."

Once the event ended, volunteers were quickly stacking chairs, collecting signs, and cleaning up trash. Things had gone off without a hitch and Frank Luna was looking pleased. In fact he was still shaking his head, marveling at the turnout and intensity. "Pure luck," he says of how he ended up working for the governor. He then headed off to Waretown for his first meal of the day.

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