The belief among politicos in Burlington County has been that Republican Assemblyman Ryan Peters would challenge Democratic Senator Dawn Marie Addiego in 2021.
This would make for an intriguing contest in LD-8. Peters, 38, is seen as a rising GOP star and Addiego began her political life – and was last elected – as a Republican. She switched parties in January of 2019.
But it may not happen.
Rumors are circulating that Peters has his sights not on the upper house in Trenton, but Congress. That would mean challenging Democrat Andy Kim in 2022 in CD-3.
Asked about those reports today, Peters, who comes across as a straight shooter, didn’t hedge.
He said he’s not ready yet to say he’s running for Congress, but he admitted that the state Senate doesn’t seem all that appealing.
“Do I want to be in the minority again?” he asked. “I really don’t have a burning desire to do that.”
Republicans are severely outnumbered in the Legislature and it’s a good bet that will continue, so you can see Peters’ point.
Being a senator by definition is more prestigious than serving in the Assembly, but as Peters acknowledged, “I don’t know where that gets me.”
Congress may be something else.
Fresh from gaining at least nine House seats – some races are still undecided – in last month’s election, Republicans are dreaming about taking control of the House in 2022. Peters knows the history – the party of the president traditionally loses seats in the midterm election.
The prospect of being in the House majority in D.C. may be more enticing for Peters than remaining in the minority in Trenton.
At the same time, Peters is confident he would “absolutely” beat Addiego if it comes to that.
Confidence is nice, but the last two legislative election cycles in the district, which also includes parts of Ocean County and Hammonton in Atlantic, have been very close.
Peters admits he hasn’t focused all that much on CD-3, which also includes parts of Ocean.
That’s because he thought Republican David Richter was going to win last month’s election.
It turned out that Kim beat Richter by about 35,000 votes.
Peters is officially just thinking about a run for Congress, but when he contemplated the possibility of being part of a Republican House majority in Congress, he said, “That can be exciting.”