U.S. Congressman Rush Holt, a a former professor of public policy and physicist at Princeton University who served eight terms in the House of Representatives, has decided to not seek reelection in 2014.
Holt, D-Mercer-Middlesex, told The Washington Post that "there is no hidden motive for my decision," saying:
"As friends who have worked with me know, I have never thought that the primary purpose of my work was reelection and I have never intended to make service in the House my entire career. 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."
In 1998, Holt successfully challenged one-term Congressman Michael Pappas for the seat that covers much of Mercer and Middlesex counties. The incumbent's campaign experienced a setback after he read a poem, set to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," praising Kenneth Starr - a special prosecutor investigating the Clinton administration - on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Holt defeated Pappas by 4 percentage points, 51 to 47 percent, becoming the first Democrat to represent the district in two decades.
John Currie, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, issued the following statement:
"Congressman Rush Holt has been a truly inspiring public servant, and it is sad to lose someone so dedicated to his constituents and renowned for his intellect."
"It's not every day that a teacher and a scientist also proves himself to be an electoral juggernaut, again and again winning elections that others doubted he could, while funding his campaigns primarily through a New Jersey-based network of small-dollar donors. It's not just that he won or how much he won by, but the way he campaigned that distinguished him."
"For many years, middle class families across the state will benefit from the investments in education, research, and infrastructure that Congressman Holt fought to secure. He deserves our thanks."
"I look forward to talking to prospective candidates that are interested in running in Congressman's Holt's district, understanding that he leaves big shoes to fill."
The 12th District includes these towns:
Mercer County (10)Ewing Township, East Windsor, Hightstown, Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough, Lawrence Township, Pennington, Princeton,Trenton, West Windsor Township
Middlesex County (14)Cranbury Township, Dunellen, East Brunswick Township, Helmetta, Jamesburg, Middlesex, Milltown, Monroe Township, North Brunswick Township, Old Bridge Township (part, also 6), Plainsboro Township, South Brunswick Township, South River Borough, and Spotswood Borough
Somerset County (4)Bound Brook, Franklin Township, Manville, South Bound Brook
Union County (3)Fanwood, Plainfield, Scotch Plains