The New Jersey 12th Congressional District is located in the center of the state and consists of parts of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth counties. There are three candidates competing for the seat: incumbent Congressman Rush Holt is being challenged by Republican candidate Scott Sipprelle and Kenneth J. Cody, an independent.
The people of the 12th District share the concerns of most Americans: the economy, energy sustainability, health care, national security, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and illegal immigration. The No. 1 issue is the overall status of the economy, which includes high unemployment, job loss, taxes, deficits, out of control spending and financial reform. Currently the New Jersey unemployment rate is 9.6%, slightly above the national average.
As of November 2009, the State of New Jersey, Division of Elections shows voter registration by party affiliation in the 12th District as follows:
• Democrats 148,160
• Republicans 82,496
• Independents 212,684
• Total 443,582
Rush Holt – Democrat
Congressman Holt is currently serving his sixth term; he was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998 defeating then incumbent Republican Mike Pappas. Holt is a scientist and holds a Ph.D. from New York University; prior to being elected, Mr. Holt was an Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a research facility at Princeton University. Mr. Holt worked for the US State Department focusing on arms control and has extensive teaching experience at the college level. (Rush Holt – Congressional and Campaign websites)
Congressman Holt sits on several committees, including the House Committee on Education and Labor; Holt was a supporter of the Health Care bill enacted in March.
Per a Washington Post website, Mr. Holt has sided with the Democratic Majority in 98.5% of the votes he cast and has missed 1.9% (27 votes) in the current session of Congress. (Washington Post website)
In a GovTrack bill sponsor analysis, Congressman Holt is described as a far-left Democrat. (GovTrack website)
Congressman Holt does have a Facebook and Twitter presence.
Mr. Holt’s websites clearly defines his positions and he uses a number of media articles and coverage on community events to describe his support for 12th District causes, organizations and issues. His campaign website includes a page of endorsements; Holt is supported by a number of unions, educational and professional associations.
Scott Sipprelle – Republican
Mr. Sipprelle is the Republican candidate having won the June 8, 2010 primary against David Corsi; Mr. Corsi has since come out in support of Sipprelle. Mr. Sipprelle is a businessman in the Financial Industry; Mr. Sipprelle is the founder of the investment firm Westland Ventures. Prior to launching his own firm, Mr. Sipprelle was a Managing Director for Morgan Stanley. Sipprelle is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hamilton College where he majored in Economics and Government. Mr. Sipprelle was a college intern in the office of former US Senator Pete Wilson (R-CA.); additionally, he is involved in a number of civic and charitable organizations. (Sipprelle Campaign website)
Mr. Sipprelle has not held public office so his positions are laid out in a platform called, “Blueprint for Renewal”. In the “Blueprint”, Sipprelle shows a command for and addresses the major issues, albeit in a different format than Congressman Holt.
Sipprelle has a focus on economic issues including job creation, control of spending and the deficit. Sipprelle calls for the abolishment of the current tax code and replacing it with a flat tax system. The flat tax system he proposes is detailed and has deductions and offsets for those in the lower income scales. Sipprelle’s “Blueprint” also states his ideas on National Security, Health Care and Wall Street reform.
Per the Campaign website, Sipprelle has raised more than $829,000 in contributions and will start using TV advertising to air his views. Sipprelle has a Facebook and Twitter presence. (Sipprelle Campaign website)
Kenneth J. Cody -Truth, Vision, Hope
Mr. Cody is a third party independent candidate running under the Truth, Vision, Hope banner. Mr. Cody is a lifelong resident of the 12th District and is a graduate of Middlesex County College, majoring in Accounting. Prior to becoming an unaffiliated voter Mr. Cody was a Democrat.
Mr. Cody does have a website where he articulates major issues; Cody points out a major need for Bi-partisan cooperation to solve national issues. Cody also supports campaign finance reform and will not accept any monetary donations. (Cody campaign website)
Mr. Cody maintains a Facebook presence.
Congressman Holt and Mr. Sipprelle both have a solid understanding of the issues facing the 12th District, New Jersey and the Nation; and to a somewhat lesser extent so does Mr. Cody. The question for voters is the approaches and solutions the candidates offer to resolve problems.
The DC Political Report website currently views the 12th District safe for the Democrats. Campaigning will start in earnest after Labor Day and issues can change in significance between now and November.
OpenSecrets.org presently shows Congressman Holt with more available cash on hand than Mr. Sipprelle; OpenSecrets also provides a list of major campaign contributors.
Rush Holt – Official Congressional Website
Rush Holt – Campaign Website
Scott Sipprelle – Campaign Website
Kenneth J. Cody – Campaign Website
State of New Jersey, Department of State, Division of Elections
DC’s Political Report
Cook Political Report