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Contest for Congress: Democrat Holt Fights to Keep Seat in NJ's 12th House District

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The latest midterm polling shows a strong Republican advantage nationally, but House races are ultimately intense local affairs. For six-term Democratic incumbent Rush Holt, this year's reelection bid is a tough one in New Jersey's 12th House district against Republican Scott Sipprelle.

Last month, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele added Holt's district to a list of Democratic seats that are worthy of additional national party attention. Holt, a former Princeton plasma physicist, has been around long enough that the boundaries of central Jersey's 12th House district were draw to his advantage. It includes portions of Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon, Somerset, and Monmouth counties. 

Now, the 61 year-old Holt faces 47 year-old Scott Sipprelle, a Republican venture capitalist who is largely self-funding his campaign. Sipprelle's resume includes work at Morgan Stanley, Westland Ventures LLC and Cooper Arch Capital. 

Sipprelle, a telegenic fiscal conservative, says abortion "should be legal, safe and rare." He favors a so-called 20 percent flat tax to replace the income tax for individuals and corporations. Sipprelle opposes President Obama's health care reforms and does not support stimulus spending aimed reviving the stalled economy. He has pledged to serve only three terms if elected.

Holt is a progressive with a perfect League of Conservation voter rating. In 2008, he consistently pushed for a deadline to withdraw from Iraq. He has been a leader in Congress on tightening gun control and advocates the registration of all handguns. Holt also doesn't mind making waves once something gets on his radar. He continues to keep the heat on the FBI for their botched handling of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Holt has tried to tie Sipprelle to Wall Street by calling for the venture capitalist to release his income tax returns. Sipprelle has filed the required ethics disclosure documents with the House but has refused to make his returns available.

Holt highlights that his average donation is just $200. This week, some of the progressive calvary arrives in to the district with the visit of Texas radio talk show star Jim Hightower. Hightower will help Holt celebrate his 62nd birthday. Tickets start at $62 dollars but run as high as $2,400 for a "party patron" ticket.

President Obama did well in this district in 2008, winning the district by 60,000 votes. For Holt, the challenge is make sure those Democratic voters turn out again to keep him in Washington.

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Comments [1]

TJ from So. Brunswick

The voice of the author in this article comes out very tilted against the Dems.

I am not proud of the Dems this year, but Rep. Rush Holt is one of my legislative hereos in Congress.

No Congressman in the entire New Jersey delegation has shown higher moral and ethical standard than Rush Holt.

I am disappointed in Mr. Obama and Dems for not standing up for their principles and fighting back against the Republican hateful and semi-racist talking points about his birth certificates, religion, black ideology, tea party etc. If the Dems are guilty of anything its that they don't have the backbone to vote their principles or vote in unison authoritarian "party line" discipline of the warmongering party. They are a huge disappointment and deserve what's coming to them this year.

However I cannot say the same for my idol Mr. Holt. I'm proud he represents me, my views, and my district. I'm couldn't be more enthusiastic to go out with my family and vote for this gem of a man for whom politics just so happen to fall into. And with honesty, integrity, and principles like him, other whimpy Dems and corrupt Wall Street hucksters like his opponent Mr. Sipprelle can learn a lesson or two.

Oct. 11 2010 01:49 AM

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