He’s a scientist, a teacher, an expert on monitoring nuclear weapons – and a five-time Jeopardy! winner who beat IBM’s computer Watson. Rush Holt also is an effective congressman and tough campaigner who wins elections by appealing to New Jersey voters who still believe in an American Dream built on fairness and opportunity for all.
Rush earned a B.A. in physics from Carleton College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, also in physics, from New York University. As a faculty member at Swarthmore College, he taught courses in physics, public policy, and religion.At the U.S. State Department, Rush monitored the nuclear programs of countries like Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. From 1989 until his election to Congress in 1998, Rush served as assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University’s largest research facility and New Jersey’s largest center for alternative energy research.
As a scientist, Rush has led the fight against climate change, working in Congress to add tough new restrictions on greenhouse gases to cap-and-trade proposals. He voted against the war in Iraq, against unwarranted spying on Americans, and he fought to repeal the misguided PATRIOT Act. As former chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, he helped strengthen oversight of the intelligence community by insisting it provide policymakers with accurate assessments and protect Americans at home and abroad.
As a true progressive, Rush has earned 100% vote ratings from the League of Conservation Voters, the American Association of University Women, the NAACP, the Humane Society, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Americans for the Arts. He was named one of Scientific American magazine’s “50 national visionaries contributing to a brighter technological future."
Again and again in his career, Rush has demonstrated his ability to win tough political battles. In 1998, he became one of only six challengers nationwide to unseat an incumbent in the U.S. House. The national Republican Party, believing that his was a fluke, made reclaiming the seat one of their highest priorities of the 2000 election cycle. Rush won again. In 2010, he was challenged by a wealthy hedge fund manager who sought to capitalize on significant anti-incumbent sentiment in a well-publicized challenge. Rush won again. Over the course of his elections, grassroots donors contributed four times as much to Rush Holt as to any other New Jersey Democrat in the U.S. House.
His Senate candidacy already has ignited the imagination and energy of voters. The law required him to file 1,000 signatures on nominating petitions, but he filed more than 4,500. He didn’t hire paid canvassers to collect them. The petitions came from overwhelming volunteer support. These are exactly the committed, progressive New Jersey Democrats who will vote and choose the winner in the August special election primary
Rush lives in Hopewell with his wife, Margaret Lancefield, a physician and medical director of the outpatient clinic at the University Medical Center at Princeton. They have three adult children – Michael, Dejan, and Rachel – and seven grandchildren – Niala, Noah, Boaz, Varun, Rohan, Cecile, and Joshua.