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Adler Concedes 3rd District Race To Runyan; Says Campaign “Failed with Honor”

FULL COVERAGE: Election Day Recap

After several hours of waiting with barely any information, Shelley Adler finally went up to the podium at her campaign party in Mount Laurel and conceded the race for the third Congressional District to Republican Jon Runyan.

Shelley Adler (D) concedes to Rep. Jon Runyan (R) on Election Night.
Shelley Adler (D) concedes to Rep. Jon Runyan (R) on Election Night. (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

The campaign party, held at The Hotel ML in Burlington County’s Mount Laurel, had the attention of many across the state as one of the most significant races in New Jersey. Runyan defeated Shelley Adler’s late husband, Congressman Jon Adler, in 2010 and was vying for a second term.

All eyes from the Adler campaign were on Ocean County, a traditionally Republican stronghold, which not only presented a challenge because of it’s right leaning voter base but because Hurricane Sandy meant many voters were using provisional and paper ballots which take longer to come in. Towns like Brick were especially hard hit by the storm and were counted on by the Adler campaign as Democratic pockets.

After spending essentially the entire night with her staff and away from the campaign party, Adler finally arrived at 11:30 in the evening to deliver her concession speech after the incumbent Runyan ultimately won with 53 percent of the vote.

“I had a teacher who said something that always stuck with me, ‘if you’re going to fail, fail with honor.’ Though we have failed to win this campaign, I hope you believe that we failed most honorably.”

In it she noted some of the challenges she faced were the loss of her home town of Cherry Hill to redistricting, as well being outspent.

“It’s just not possible to compete with millions of unanswered dollars being spent against me by anonymous Super PACs. If there is anything the people of this country need to do, is to rise up and put an end to them.”

Addressing the GOP as the “party of special interests,” she added, “We as citizens must express our rage unequivocally so our political system may be reclaimed.”

Money was an important factor in the race. According to reports from the Federal Election Commission, Jon Adler spent $1,369,907 on his campaign, while Adler spent just $863,651.

Though Adler was seeing record Democratic turnout in Burlington county, on par with the 2008 election, in Ocean County Runyan was favored overwhelmingly-receiving a 2 to 1 majority of the vote in some areas.

Shelley Adler ran on many of the same platforms as her late husband, and referenced him during her speech.

“I hope during the course of this campaign, I have honored the memory of my late husband by conducting a campaign guided by his principles, dignity, hard work, perseverance, integrity, and dedication to principles in truth.”

She noted that her campaign brought light to the issues of healthcare, veterans programs, and women’s rights and health into the political conversation.


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