Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) — the second research physicist to be elected to Congress and one of two members of Congress to appear on “Jeopardy” — announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election.
“There is no hidden motive for my decision,” Holt said in a letter to supporters on Tuesday. “As friends who have worked with me know, I have never thought that the primary purpose of my work was re-election 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.”
Holt ran in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary special election last year, a race he ultimately lost to now-Sen. Cory Booker.
Holt is the third member of the New Jersey delegation to either resign or not seek re-election this year, but his seat will almost certainly remain in Democratic hands. President Barack Obama won more than 60% of the vote in his district in 2012.
Holt is a five-time Jeopardy winner, and he beat the IBM “supercomputer,” Watson, in a 2011 exhibition game. Reflecting his scientific background, his campaign made one of the most recognisable bumper stickers in recent memory:
Here’s the full text of Holt’s letter to supporters:
Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
It has been and remains an immense honour for me to represent the people of New Jersey’s 12th District. I first ran for office because I believed that government can be a positive force in our lives to build community and to increase individual opportunity. I ran for office because I believed that a representative can build confidence in our self-government by providing conscientious service so that every person knows that he or she has a voice and a stake in our country. After nearly two decades in public life, I believe these things even more strongly. I have been taught by the wisdom of my constituents and am as hopeful as ever about the strength of our community, constitution, and country.
I started my career as a scientist and teacher. I have in my life sought many ways to serve, and I will remain involved and will contribute to our community to whom I owe so much. I am proud of my service in the House and am pleased to point to accomplishments in policy areas and in service to individuals in central New Jersey.
There is no hidden motive for my decision. As friends who have worked with me know, I have never thought that the primary purpose of my work was re-election 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.
This is not the time to discuss next steps in my career; that can come later. This is not a farewell. My dedicated staff and I remain on the job this year and will work hard with the President and New Jersey’s fine other members of the House and the Senate to continue to advance the public’s interests. The people I am so fortunate to represent should have no doubts that I will maintain the high standards I have set and they deserve and I am confident my successors will do the same.
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