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U.S. Rep. Rush D. Holt, Jr., formerly of U. Plasma Physics Laboratory, seeks Senate nomination

U.S. Representative Rush D. Holt, Jr., who has represented New Jersey’s 12th district for the Democratic Party since 1999, is running in theAug. 13primary for the Democratic nomination to fill the late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg’s seat.

Aformer assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratoryand arms control expert for the U.S. Department of State, Holt’s platform for Senate emphasizes strengthening math and science education in public schools, repealing the PATRIOT and FISA Amendments acts and preserving Social Security, among other issues,according to his campaign website. He announced his candidacy for the seat onJune 6,Politicker reported.

In Congress, Holt sits on the House Committee on Natural Resources, where he is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, and on the Committee on Education and the Workforce,according to his congressional website’s biography.

During the 112th Congress, Holt sponsored six bills: the Property Tax Relief Act of 2011, the Create Jobs by Expanding the R&D Tax Credit Act of 2011, the Creating Jobs from Innovative Small Businesses Act of 2011, the Making Permanent the R&D Tax Credit Act of 2011, the National STEM Education Tax Incentive for Teachers Act of 2011 and the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act of 2011.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on August 7predicted that Holt would receive 15 percent of the vote among likely Democratic voters in theAug. 13primary, trailing Newark Mayor Cory Booker and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, who are expected to receive 54 percent of the vote and 17 percent of the vote, respectively.

Holt has been endorsed by the Mercer County Democratic Committee and a host of prominent scientists, including former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and former University president Shirley M. Tilghman,according to a July 23 open letter of supportsigned by 65 scientists.

Holt’s districtconsists of the Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties and 31 municipalities, including Princeton.

Holt last visited the University in March, when he addressed topics ranging from the federal budget to his legislative priorities in aquestion-and-answer session at Terrace Club.

The congressman is a five-time winner of the television game show "Jeopardy!"and attracted public attention in 2011 for beating the IBM computer Watson in a mock"Jeopardy!"match,according to PBS.

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Rep. Frank J. Pallone, Jr. runs for Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, receives high-profile endorsements

U.S. Representative Frank J. Pallone, Jr., who has represented New Jersey’s sixth district for the Democratic Party since 1992, is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in theAug. 13primary.

A longtime politician who is serving his 13th full term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pallone has supported avariety of progressive causesthroughout his career and was known to have a close relationship with Lautenberg in Congress,according to The Hill. He announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg onJune 9,the Associated Press reported.

In Congress, Pallone sits on numerous subcommittees within the Committee on Energy and Commerce, serving as a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Health, and on the Committee on Natural Resources,according to his campaign website. He serves on four caucuses, including as co-chair for the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues,according to his Congressional website.

Pallone’s Senate platformespouses preserving Social Security and Medicare, providing access to affordable healthcare, promoting “reasonable and commonsense gun control” and making a college education more affordable, among other issues.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Aug. 7predicted that Pallone would receive 17 percent of likely Democratic voters’ votes in theAug. 13primary, trailing Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is expected to receive 54 percent of the vote, but surpassing U.S. Representative Rush Holt,who is expected to receive 15 percent of the vote.

Pallone has been endorsed by Lautenberg’s family,The Hill reported. He has also been endorsed by former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy,according to The Star-Ledger, and the Monmouth County Democratic Committee,according to Politicker NJ.

Pallone’s districtcovers parts of the Middlesex and Monmouth counties, including the Bayshore area.

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Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker leads as frontrunner for Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate

Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker, who has been in office since 2006, is running for the New Jersey Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in theAug. 13primary. Booker announced last year his interest in the seat then still held by the late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg,as reported by Salon.

While espousing an agenda of lowering crime rates, shrinking the city’s budget and expanding affordable housing, Booker has attracted national attention for a series of publicity stunts related to his positions, such aspersonally patrolling the streets of Newark late at nightandliving on food stamps for a week,as reported by The Star-Ledger.

According to his campaign website, Booker’s Senate platform includes improving K-12 public education, reducing unemployment and passing “common sense gun safety legislation,” among other issues.

An Aug. 7 Quinnipiac University pollfound Booker leading the pack with a projected 54 percent of likely Democratic primary voters’ votes in theAug. 13primary.

Hehas been endorsed by New Jersey Democratsat the local and state levels as well asnational politicians including U.S. Senator Bill Bradley ’65, The Star-Ledger reported. He has also been endorsed by media outlets includingThe New York TimesandThe Philadelphia Inquirer.

Prior to his election as mayor, Booker served on the Newark City Council from 1998 onward and launched an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2002,The New York Times reported. Booker was a Rhodes scholar, graduating from Stanford University, Oxford University and Yale Law School before entering politics.

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State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver is the underdog in Democratic primary

State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who became the state Assembly’s first African-American female speaker in January 2010,is running for the New Jersey Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in theAug. 13primary.

Oliver has served on the state General Assembly since 2004, representing the 34th District that includes Clifton, East Orange, Montclair and Orange. In her six-year tenure before becoming speaker, she pushed for the creation of paid family leave, low-cost auto insurance for low-income citizens and an amendment to the wrongful death law. She also co-sponsored legislation that created the Department of Children and Families,according to her campaign website.

Oliver previously served on the East Orange Board of Education, Essex County Board of Freeholders and has been an Essex County administrator since 2000.

AnAug. 7 Quinnipiac University pollindicated Oliver is the underdog in the Democratic primary. The poll gave Oliver 5 percent of likely votes, trailing opponents Newark Mayor Cory Booker — who leads with 54 percent — U.S. Representative Frank Pallone with 17 percent and U.S. Representative Rush Holt with 15 percent.

Oliver’s platformincludes strong gun control laws, ending the sequester, fighting cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits and increased investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Born and raised in Newark, Oliver earned a B.A. in sociology from Lincoln University, followed by an M.S. in planning and administration from Columbia. She is a now a resident of East Orange.

Oliver made unsuccessful bids for the East Orange mayorship in 1996 and the state Senate in 2001.

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