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Mercer Democrats endorse former PPPL physicist Holt

"Hope, fairness, trust."

These three words summarize Rush Holt's campaign platform.


Now, those words have been advocated by local Democrats as well. The former assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory won the endorsement of the Mercer County Democratic Convention Saturday in what some consider an unexpected victory.

Holt defeated former Princeton Township Committee member Carl Mayer in a 96-59 vote held in McCosh 50.

"I think it would be considered something of an upset in that (Mayer) is a person with a more established political position, and a great deal more money," Holt said. "This endorsement shows I have a strong base in Mercer County."

"Carl Mayer wrote himself a check for over $400,000," Holt said. "I have to raise money the old fashioned way," Holt said. "I ask people who believe in the same good government and the social and economic investment I believe in to support me. I've managed to raise over $100,000 since I've started last month."

Holt is running for the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey seat. The 12th Congressional District is the second largest in New Jersey. Winning the endorsement Saturday means that Holt will be placed in a preferred position on the ballot.

"This is probably the biggest step," Holt said, "but it is only the first step."


Though the leap from plasma physics to politics may be one that initially appears quite considerable, Holt said he has "grown up around politics and know(s) politics well."

"I am trained as a scientist," Holt continued, "but I apply my training to public service." As a scientist, Holt has worked in Congress, at the National Resource Defense Council and at the New York City Environmental Protection Administration.

"One of the reasons I joined the PPPL is because the mission at the PPPL is a high-minded, public-spirited mission," Holt said. He began his term as assistant director of the lab in 1989. Two years ago, Holt ran for the same Congressional seat, but was defeated in the Democratic primary.

Holt is also on the boards of the Planned Parenthood Association of Mercer Area and the Family and Children's Services of Central New Jersey.

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"My interest in health issues, education (and) women's rights is not simply an election year phenomenon. These issues are deeply important to me," Holt said. "Another way of putting it would be that my involvement with these organizations is not because I'm running for Congress; it's because I care about these issues that I'm running for Congress."

Elaborating on his campaign slogan of "hope, fairness, trust," Holt said that "hope" is "knowing that you have invested in the future, whether it's education, environmental protection or health care. Things that let you know that you will be prepared for the future."

Holt said "fairness" is an ideal that covers a great many areas. "Clearly there is a great deal of work to ensure fairness economically, fairness socially. Just tax codes is a key manner of approaching this fairness," he said.

Holt also perceives a marked lack of "trust" in government. "People have lost trust in government programs as basic and fundamental as social security," he said.

"The people have lost trust in the politicians and in the process," Holt said. A manner of remedying this problem, explained Holt, would be to remove all traces or even hints of corruption from campaign financing.

"There are certain basic things that everyone agrees the government should be doing," Holt added. "It's important that the people have faith in the government's ability to deliver these things."