Why Jon Runyan is Quitting Congress

"At least in football you know exactly who your opponent is."

Former Eagle Jon Runyan has served two terms in Congress since retiring from football; in Politico, he writes why he is walking away from politics. “At least in football you know exactly who your opponent is,” he grumbles.

Runyan makes clear he didn’t like Congress’s attempts to hold the economy hostage during “fiscal cliff” neogotiations, but says it was legislative dickering following Hurricane Sandy that really got his goat.

I returned to Washington ready to fight for emergency aid to help the towns affected in my state and throughout the Northeast rebuild. Governors from both political parties joined ranks and Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and President Barack Obama famously teamed up to “restore the shore.” Republicans and Democrats from the impacted areas worked together in the House on a clean package to get immediate relief to our constituents.

And what did we get out of the Senate? A bill laden with sweeteners intended to secure yes votes from senators whose states weren’t even impacted by the storm. Things like money for fisheries in Alaska. Pretty soon opposition to the bill developed even as millions of Americans sifted through what remained of their possessions — those who were lucky enough to have something to sift through, that is.

It took weeks for a relief package to reach the floor of the House of Representatives. Even when it was pork-free, that bill garnered 180 “no” votes — including 179 members of my own party. Many of these members had previously requested aid for their own districts following other natural disasters. I actually carried the list of those members in my lapel pocket for weeks following that vote.

He doesn’t say so, but it sure sounds like one way to read this is that Runyan, a Republican, simply didn’t like the behavior of his own party in Congress. He’s only 40; he has a long time to find new ways of making a difference.