Congressman Rush Holt announced this afternoon that h.e will not seek a 9th term in the House of Representatives. In a statement posted on facebook, the rocket scientist/Jeopardy champion said it was a honor to serve and that there are no hidden motives in his decision to retire. “For a variety of reasons, personal and professional, all of them positive and optimistic, the end of this year seems to me to be the right time to step aside and ask the voters to select the next representative.”
Holt couldn’t debate healthcare with Rhoda Chodosh. He certainly doesn’t want to debate Dr. Alieta Eck this fall.
Holt was a candidate for U.S. Senate for the Democratic nomination in the Special Election to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg last summer, losing then Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the winner of the nomination and the seat, and Congressman Frank Pallone.
Democrats are lining up to compete for the nomination to replace Holt in the 12 district which includes parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Union Counties and is considered a safe Democratic district by most political experts.
NJ.com reports that Assemblymen Reed Gusciora of Mercer County County and Upendra Chivukula of Somerset are both interested in running. Chivukula was the Democratic nominee against Congressman Leonard Lance in the 7th district in 2012. Gusciora is famous for being called “numbnuts” by Governor Chris Chrisite after Gusciora compared Christie to George Wallace and Lester Maddix, two 1960’s Democratic segregationist southern governors.
Two Mercer County State Senators, Linda Greenstein and Shirley Turner told NJ.com they are running, as did Mercer County Executive Brian Hughs, the son of former Governor/former State Supreme Court Justice Richard Hughs. PolitickerNJ is reporting that Greenstein is considered the favorite to get the Democratic nod and that 14th Legislative district Democrats are lining up to compete for her State Senate seat.
Among Republicans, Dr. Alieta Eck of Somerset County had been campaigning for the nomination unopposed since December. Now that their is a vacancy, Eck should expect some competition.
Venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle of Princeton ran a spirited race against Holt, in 2010 and has been mentioned by many as a favored candidate. However, the very competitive Sipprelle did not enjoy the process in 2010 and liked losing even less. With the district considered less competitive after the 2011 gerrymandering, don’t bet on Sipprelle entering the race.
Bill Spadea, also of Princeton, was the GOP nominee against Holt in 2004 and challenged Donna Simon for the Assembly nomination to replace the late Peter Biondi in 2012. If the political bug gets the best of Spadea, he would have to leave his gig as the ring master of Chasing NJ, the Fox affiliate New Jersey news show broadcast at 10PM five nights per week. Don’t count on that happening.
Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine has long held ambitions for higher office. He was a candidate for Governor in the 2009 GOP primary before endorsing Chris Christie over Steve Lonegan and he ran for State Senate from the 15th legislative district last November, losing to incumbent Senator Bob Smith. Levine supported Eck in her race against Steve Lonegan for the Special GOP Senate nomination last summer. Yet it would not be shocking to see him compete with Eck for the CD-12 nomination.
Another possibility for the Republicans in CD-12 is for one of the carpetbaggers in CD-3 competing to replace retiring Congressman Jon Ruyan to move to CD-12 instead. Lonegan of Bergen County and Randolph, Morris County, Mayor Tom MacArthur are both vying for the GOP nomination to fill the Republican seat.