Reaching for some star power, New Jersey Republicans have once again recruited a former Philadelphia Eagle to run for Congress.
Former Eagles linebacker Garry Cobb will seek the state’s 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, according to Camden County GOP chairman Thomas Booth.
Cobb had an 11-year career in the NFL and found a home in Philadelphia, where he was a linebacker for the Eagles and then a radio sports talk personality. Cobb lives in Cherry Hill, and Booth said the party is excited to be backing Cobb.
“It’s certainly a great opportunity to take back this congressional seat as what it truly should be, which is the people’s seat,” Booth said in a telephone interview.
Booth clearly hopes to contrast Cobb’s grass-roots appeal with the expected Democratic candidate, state Sen. Donald Norcross.
“You now have a Democrat candidate who is part of the political elite in South Jersey and is an integral cog in the South Jersey Democratic machine,” Booth said.
Donald Norcross is the brother of longtime South Jersey political powerbroker George Norcross, who’s a major player in higher education and health care in the area. He’s also a part owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.
While Cobb will get some attention, it won’t be an easy district for him to run in.
Nick Acocella, the editor of Politifax New Jersey, said the state’s congressional districts are drawn to protect the incumbent party. In the 1st District, that’s the Democrats.
“The district is so overwhelmingly Democratic that I probably wasn’t born the last time a Republican carried it,” he told me. “No Republican has gotten more than 35 percent of the vote in that district since 1990.”
This is the second time in recent years New Jersey Republicans have recruited a former Eagle to make a run at Congress. Former lineman Jon Runyan held the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat for two terms, but decided not to seek re-election this year.