Pulse: Chatter: Politics: Runyan’s Run

Do you have to vote to be a Congressman?

When former Eagles offensive lineman Jon Runyan confirmed rumors back in November that yes, he was planning to run as a Republican to rep the 3rd Congressional district in New Jersey, more than a few eyebrows tilted skyward. That Sports Illustrated once named Runyan the second dirtiest player in the NFL might actually be a plus, given local politics, but his less-than-stellar voting record — showing up at the polls for just six of the last 10 general elections — could be an easy touchdown for the opposing incumbent, Democrat John Adler.

“The anti-Runyan ad is easy,” political consultant Ken Smukler — formerly the brain behind the Bob Brady campaign machine — weighs in. “I’d go to NFL Films and get a tight shot of the offensive line, and then erase Runyan from it. Then I’d show McNabb getting decimated by the opposing defensive tackle, with the voice-over: ‘What if four out of 10 times, an offensive lineman didn’t show up to play?’” But, Smukler adds, it has to be done in good humor. “Everyone understands that voting is your civic duty, but when it comes to not showing up, a lot of people don’t,” he says. “It may say something about the individual, but you can’t make it a nefarious thing.” Regardless, come campaign season, it seems Runyan had better bring his A-game.