Holt is currently serving his eighth consecutive term in Congress representing the 12th Congressional District, the central New Jersey district that encompasses the University.
In a controversial move expected to cost the state $24 million, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announcedon Tuesdaythat a special electionwould be heldto fill Lautenberg’s seat. The special primary election will take place onAug. 13,and the special general election is set forOct. 16, less than a month before the November general election in which Christie is running for reelection.
“Today, I ask for your support as I seek to serve as your senator in that seat,” Holt stated in his announcement. “The reason is simple: I believe I am the best candidate to continue the passionate advocacy for progressive values that Sen. Lautenberg exemplified.”
Holt was not available for comment onThursdayafternoon.
Holt alluded to his experience at the University — where he was a physicist and the former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory — in his message, saying that because of his experience as an educator and scientist he knows “that investing in education, research and infrastructure are the keys to a stronger, more secure middle class.”
The Democratic primary field is also expected to include Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. Frank Pallone. The filing deadline isnext Monday.
“I think it will be a competitive primary,” Princeton College Democrats president Will Mantell '14 said. “I think he's been a very good representative, and I think he would make a good senator ... If he wins the primary, he will win the general.”
Since New Jersey is known to be a blue state, Mantell said he would expect the Democratic candidate to win in the general election. However, Mantell said Holt is running in a “field of good candidates,” so the primary will be difficult.
Christie will fill the Senate seat with an interim senator until the special election. He is expected to choose a Republican.