Congressman's Widow Battles for His Seat

Shelley Adler Tries to Regain N.J. Seat Held by Late Husband

By JTA

Published October 14, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Before Shelley Adler can reclaim her late husband’s congressional seat, she will have to get by a former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman.

Shelley Adler
shelley adler for congress
Shelley Adler

Adler, a Democrat, is running in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Jon Runyan, the former pro football player who unseated her husband, John, during the Republicans’ 2010 midterm election surge.

John Adler served a single term in Congress representing the South Jersey district after a long career as a state senator. He died in April 2011 at the age of 51 due to complications from a staph infection following heart surgery.

“The impetus to run was my family – myself and my sons. We believe in public service,” said Shelley Adler, 52, who has worked as an attorney and was a member of the Cherry Hill Township Council for five years.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has flagged the race on its red-to-blue list.

Political experts, however, characterize the race as leaning toward Runyan, and a recent poll had the congressman leading Adler by 10 points among likely voters. The DCCC and the Republican Congressional Committee recently canceled ad buys in the Philadelphia area, suggesting that local congressional races are not seen as being as competitive as they once were.

While Adler makes it clear that she isn’t seeking a sympathy vote, she says her husband’s name often comes up when she is campaigning.

“So many people knew him and respected him, both his views and the way he treated them,” she said.

The Adlers met during their years at Harvard Law School. He converted to Judaism, and they had four sons who now range in age from 10 to 23. Asked if any of her sons seem destined for a political career, Adler laughs before replying, “I don’t know. It’s way too soon for that.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.