Jersey Shore Republican Congressman Jon Runyan will not seek re-election next year.

Congressman Jon Runyan at Seaside Boardwalk fire site (Bailey Hall)


Rep. Jon Runyan (R) (CSPAN)

The Cherry Hill resident released a statement confirming his intentions. Politics shouldn't be a career and I never intended to make it one," explains Runyan.  "While it has truly been an honor to serve the people of New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District," his first priority is the lives of his children.

According to reports in  the Burlington County Times and The Star-Ledger, the former star football player wants to have time to watch his oldest son play football next year at his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

Runyan's term expires in January 2015. By Runyon not seeking re-election, an open election will be held for the second time in five years. Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, a Democrat from Edgewater Park, reportedly is considering running for the seat and has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

Runyan won the seat from south Jersey Democrat John Adler, who served one term after longtime GOP Congressman Jim Saxton retired. Adler died in 2011 and his widow, Shelly unsuccessfully ran against Runyan.

He was one of 87 Republicans to vote to reopen the government last month after the 16-day shutdown. He also is a co-sponsor of a House bill that would outlaw discrimination against gays in the workplace.

"Jon came to Congress to help get our country back on track, and since Day One, he has been an important part of our efforts to reform the federal government and get reckless spending under control," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee. "While Jon will be missed, I wish him and his family all the best as they start the next chapter of their lives."

Sources said Republicans haven't identified a replacement for Runyan. The moderate Republican was a star offensive lineman with the Philadelphia Eagles and ended his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers.

Statement From Congressman Jon Runyan

“After a great deal of thought and discussions with my family, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2014. 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."

New Jersey's third congressional district stretches from Burlington County and the towns of Cinnaminson, Bordentown, Medford Lakes, and Pemberton  into southern Ocean County including Toms River, Seaside Heights, Barnegat, Lacey and Ocean Township.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.