Former Eagle Gary Cobb plans to run for House seat

Garry Cobb , who has never sought office, is a sports-radio personality.
Garry Cobb , who has never sought office, is a sports-radio personality.
Posted: February 08, 2014

WASHINGTON - Former Eagles linebacker Garry Cobb said Thursday that he intends to run as a Republican for the House seat soon to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), but has not officially entered the race.

"What I want to be very clear about is that my intention right now is to run," Cobb, of Cherry Hill, said in a telephone interview after attending a meeting of Camden County Republicans. But he said he had not filed any campaign papers or made an official announcement: "I've got some other things to do to be fully ready to do that, to put a team together."

"I do intend to" run, said Cobb, who has never before sought elective office.

A report on the WHYY website Newsworks saying Cobb was running was based on comments from Camden County Republican Chairman Thomas Booth, who said, "It's certainly a great opportunity to take back this congressional seat as what it truly should be, which is the people's seat."

Booth would not comment to The Inquirer on Thursday regarding Cobb's candidacy. He instead pointed to e-mails he sent to the paper criticizing its coverage of the candidacy of State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden), who on Tuesday announced that he was running for Andrews' seat and who received immediate backing from the most powerful Democrats in South Jersey.

"I suppose there will now be tilted coverage [through] November of Donald's ascendance," Booth wrote in an e-mail.

Norcross is a brother of South Jersey Democratic power broker George E. Norcross III, majority owner of the company that publishes The Inquirer.

Pat Breslin, a GOP committeeman in Bethlehem Township, Pa., who has advised Cobb on his political prospects, said Cobb had previously considered running for the South Jersey seat now held by another ex-Eagle, U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), who is retiring from Congress.

Two prominent Pennsylvania Republicans - Sen. Pat Toomey and U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent - spoke to Breslin about recruiting Cobb after Runyan announced that he would not seek reelection, Breslin said.

But Cobb would have had to move into Runyan's district to get the local GOP organization's support, and chose not to, said Bill Layton, the Burlington County Republican chairman.

"He did tell me he was absolutely interested in running for Congress," Layton said.

Cobb was also supportive of conservative candidate Steve Lonegan, who is seeking Runyan's seat, Breslin said.

Cobb, who played 11 years in the NFL, including three with the Eagles, and is now a sports radio personality on WIP, could bring a burst of attention to the race, where Democrats are heavily favored and likely to have a huge financial advantage.

"It's a Democratic [district[, but as an open seat it definitely makes it attainable," Breslin said.

Andrews and Democratic presidential candidates routinely have won more than 60 percent of the vote there. The district is centered on Camden County, and includes a handful of municipalities in Burlington and Gloucester Counties.

No other candidates have entered the race since Andrews' surprise announcement Tuesday that he would leave office this month. Others have said they are considering running.


jtamari@phillynews.com

@JonathanTamari

www.inquirer.com/capitolinq

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