"Individual personalities and self-serving strategies had become the focus of our attention - a classic example, you could say, of guys playing to get to the Pro Bowl rather than the Super Bowl," he wrote as he decried Congress' dysfunction.
Runyan's piece touches on many of the same themes Republican allies mentioned when he announced his decision in early November. But this was the first in-depth explanation he had given about leaving Congress.
As he did in a brief announcement in November, Runyan mentioned the sadness of missing family moments. He described saying goodbye to his youngest daughter as he planned to leave a family reunion early to return to Washington. He also wrote of missing out on the chance to be with his son on the day the St. Joseph's Prep offensive lineman got a scholarship to play football at his father's alma mater, the University of Michigan.
But much of the essay was devoted to Runyan's dissatisfaction with the constant brinkmanship in Congress ("all of it leaving me quite frustrated and my constituents scratching their heads") and the struggle to pass a Sandy aid package as his devastated district - which includes large parts of Burlington and Ocean Counties - tried to rebuild.
Senate Democrats, Runyan said, passed a bill "laden with sweeteners" while 179 House Republicans refused to support even what he said was a "pork-free" version.
Runyan's frustrations led to a decision not to seek reelection this year, turning his moderate district into a top-tier battleground.
Aimee Belgard, a Burlington County freeholder, is the only Democrat in the race so far.
Republican Steve Lonegan, who ran for U.S. Senate last year and has twice run for governor, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 21. The longtime Bergen County resident and former Bogota mayor lists Lavallette as his home.
Lonegan had said previously that he was moving to the Shore town and planned to run, against the wishes of local party leaders who prefer a more moderate candidate in the swing district.
The Burlington and Ocean county GOP organizations, however, have yet to coalesce around a candidate, leaving Lonegan as the only Republican in the race so far.