Rush Holt (D-NJ, 12th) has held what was previously a traditional Republican seat for almost 12 years now, winning election in 1998 by a scant 1,000-odd votes in a year where Republicans saw a backlash due to the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Re-elected by a similar margin since, he has seen his seat become more comfortable since the local Democrats redrew his district after the 2000 census to dip it into some deep blue waters. It has allowed Holt to comfortably ignore a large part of his constituents and become one of the most hardcore left-wing Congressman holding office today.
After a decent challenge in 2004, the '06 and '08 contenders lost by 60-40 margins, enough to convince most outside observers that this is a perennially safe Democratic seat.
Fair Haven mayor Mike Halfacre has been a declared Republican challenger to Holt in 2010 for some time now. And apparently, Holt's invincibility shield is dimming, because another Republican has jumped into the ring, lusting after the opportunity to take on the throne:
...venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Rush Holt in the 12th congressional district.Sipprelle will make a formal announcement of his candidacy on Wednesday January 13, 6PM, at the Princeton Regency Hyatt.
Sipprelle spent 22 years on Wall Street. He was Managing Director and Head of U.S Equity Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley before leaving the firm to co found the Midtown Capital Partners hedge fund (1998-2002) followed by Copper Arch Capital, a fund he liquidated at the top of the market in 2007
.Since leaving Wall Street, Sipprelle authored the novel, The Golden Dog and founded Westland Ventures. Westland has investments in BlogTalkRadio, The Princeton Bank, Narragansett Brewery and Zhena's Gypsy Tea.
Sipprelle's political involvement to date has been as a financial contributor, donating primarily to Republican candidates and the Club for Growth PAC....Republican sources say that Sipprelle is prepared to spend upwards of $700,000 of his own money in his quest to unseat Holt.
I am thrilled that the prevailing winds have pushed so many qualified challengers to compete against the loathsome Holt. Although this blog will hold off on an endorsement for the moment (watch out; I may hold six votes in my hand!), I am currently leaning Halfacre, for a few reasons:
-no johnny-come-lately; he's been working the anti-Holt beat since the spring
-great work in challenging Rush "my constituents are selfish bastards"Holt on health care reform - when Holt held a town hall with a mere 250 seats, turning away thousands, Halfacre set up shop in a park across the street, and spoke to each and every person about their concerns. Political genius, as his "turnout" surpassed Holt's and got equal coverage.
-is the time right for a Wall Street millionaire to run against Holt? To easy to demagogue against in a climate where The Street is still taking a public-relations pounding.
-what are Sipprelle's conservative bona fides? Concerning, as millionaires tend to run in liberal circles and can go from charging righties to cooing RHINOs in the blink of an eye...
Let it also be know that I did contribute to Halfacre's campaign, shortly before the new year. More of a token sign of support than an "investment", in all honesty.
And More Monmouth Musings has a insta-poll showing Halfacre up on Sipprelle 63% to 39%. With all of 36 votes in....
Either way, I will support the Republican challenger. Let's hope the people of the 12th give Holt the bum's "Rush" outta Congress....