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Ex-Jets player thinking about run for Congress

By David Wildstein, February 08 2018 9:23 am

Former New York Jets center Nick Mangold is considering a bid for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 11th district, according to a source familiar with the potential candidacy.

A group of Republican leaders approached the recently retired 34-year-old Chatham resident about seeking the seat of retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, and after a series of discussions, Mangold has agreed to think about it.

Mangold could enter the race with high name recognition and without a long record of public policy positions or votes.

In 2010, South Jersey Republicans recruited former Eagles star Jon Runyan to run against incumbent Rep. John Adler.  Runyan’s NFL contacts helped him raise plenty of money and he served two terms in Congress before retiring.

The former football player has been interested in politics for a long time.  He campaigned with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his native state of Ohio during the 2012 campaign.

“If I was as big and strong as Nick, this race would already be over,” Romney told the crowd at the time.

He contributed $2,700 to Chris Christie’s presidential bid.  Later he campaigned for Donald Trump in 2016, but appears to have stepped back a little after the President’s Muslim ban.

“There’s some things I agree with, there’s some things I don’t,” Mangold told a reporter last year.

Mangold grew up in Ohio, where he was a first team All-American for the Ohio State Buckeyes.  He moved to New Jersey in 2006 after being drafted by the Jets.   His career ended in early 2017, and he’s taken a year off to spend time with his family – he married his high school sweetheart after college.  He spends his days working on philanthropic endeavors, managing his investments, and driving elementary school carpools.  And spent eleven scandal-free seasons in the NFL.

As one insider put it: “He saluted the American flag while wearing an NYPD cap.”

So far, only Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Martin Hewitt have entered the race for the Republican nomination.  Others are thinking of getting in, like businessman Jerry Langer, former Harding Mayor Nicolas Platt, Sussex County Freeholder Sylvia Petillo, and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton) are actively exploring a bid.

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