GOP Rep. Jon Runyan of New Jersey will leave the House next year after just two terms, saying he does not believe politics should be a career.
His decision against running again will mean his seat could be one of the most closely watched as Democrats bid to regain control of the House. It was one of just 17 seats held by Republicans in districts that voted for President Barack Obama last year.
Runyan, a former offensive lineman for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles announced his decision on Wednesday, The Star-Ledger reports
"After a great deal of thought and discussions with my family, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2014," Runyan said.
"Politics shouldn't be a career and I never intended to make it one. While it has truly been an honor to serve the people of New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District, at this stage in my life, and more importantly, the lives of my three children, spending time with them is my top priority. As I serve out the rest of my term, I will continue to work hard on behalf of the people of South Jersey."
Runyan, 39, took the seat, which stretches from the Jersey Shore to the Philadelphia suburbs from Democrat John Adler, who served just one term. Adler died in 2011, and in 2012 his widow, Shelley, unsuccessfully challenged Runyan, losing by 54-45 percent.
Runyan was among those Republicans who called for an end to the government shutdown that took effect after conservatives linked the federal budget to defunding Obamacare.
In a statement in early October, Runyan said, "Enough is enough. Put a clean [continuing resolution] on the floor, and let’s get on with the business we were sent to do."
Republicans already are vowing to keep Runyan’s seat in the next election, reports NBC News
"While this has always been a competitive district, both Jon Runyan and Chris Christie have proven that Republicans can win here," said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek.
"While we will not take this seat for granted, we will keep this seat in the Republican column, especially with Democrats already lining up behind a Barbara Buono-style candidate," Bozek added, referring to the Democratic state senator who lost her gubernatorial challenge to Christie on Tuesday.
Democrat Aimee Belgard is expected to run for the seat.
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