Government shutdown puts squeeze on Republican moderates

NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Kenn Challender, a Republican, is not thrilled with Obamacare.

But this week, he's a lot more worried about how he's going to pay the mortgage and feed his three children. The government shutdown has temporarily cost him his job as a civilian aircraft mechanic at a nearby military base.

"I talked to the bank, and they said the best they could do would be to waive the late fee," said Challender, 33, standing underneath the American flag on his front step. "There's nothing I can do about it now."

Rep. Jon Runyon is one of seven House Republicans from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to say it's time to end the party's efforts to stop healthcare law.

This pocket of small-town New Jersey, mostly Republican and deeply dependent on nearby Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is filled with military retirees and now, with the shutdown, thousands of angry, idled workers like Challender.

That is putting a tough political squeeze on Jon Runyan, the former NFL tackle who represents this town in Congress, and a handful of other Republican lawmakers from the Philadelphia region — part of a small and dwindling band of GOP moderates.

"Jon is sort of torn between party loyalty and what's good for his district," said Carl Golden, a former spokesman for two Republican New Jersey governors and an analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy in Galloway, N.J. "I'm sure he can't be happy right now, the way this thing is going."

For more on this LA Times story, click here.