This week: Gonna be some PHYSICS up in here (thanks to Princeton & PPPL)

New Jersey – at least its Democrats – have something of a history with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a  U.S. Department of Energy national lab managed by Princeton University. Rush Holt, my old boss and NJ’s former scientist-congressman, was an administrator there before he came to Congress representing NJ’s left flank (and CD12), defeating supercomputers, advocating less hackable voting systems and better funding for science research & education. These days, Holt’s got a larger role repping science itself. But now another denizen of PPPL, its Science Education chief Andrew Zwicker, is running for Assembly in LD-16, which has more Ds than Rs (including heavily-Dem Princeton) but is longterm-repped by Republicans.

It’s why I still have a PPPL Google alert. So I wanted to pass on to those of you whose wonkiness extends from politics to science, this: All week, PPPL’s offering live-streaming of lectures on plasma physics & fusion energy that students in PPPL’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) and other programs are attending. The SULI Internship brings students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to the Lab from all over the U.S., pairing them with PPPL scientist mentors.  Lecturers include scientists from national labs like PPPL and Sandia and universities including MIT, Michigan, Columbia and TCNJ.

Yeah, it’s heavy. And you’ve already missed the introductory stuff this morning. But it’s all week and it looks fun to me. Here’s all the info:

CD12: Bonnie Watson Coleman reports Q1 fundraising

In the CD12 Democratic primary, Bonnie Watson Coleman is the first to trumpet her fundraising totals for the Q1 period that covers Jan. 1 to March 14, 2014. She reports raising more than $120,000 in 37 days:

  • Nearly 1,000 contributions;

  • 85% of contribs at less than $100; 90% at $250 or less & 94% at $500 or less;

  • Contribs from all 4 counties in CD12; Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Mercer.

    The low-dollar contributions may be key. That’s the way Rush Holt won the CD12 Democratic primary in 1998, in a very different landscape against Carl Mayer, who put hundreds of thousands of his own money in. Holt was able to demonstrate not only a viable campaign but one that was supported by a greater number of people. He went on to win the seat that year, and will retire after 8 terms in the House. It’s a one-two punch this week for the Watson Coleman campaign, which earlier reported promising internal poll numbers that showed a surge in her name-recognition since the campaign began, and a statistical dead-heat with Senator Linda Greenstein. Greenstein, who was the first to jump into the race following Rush Holt’s surprise retirement announcement, this week picked up a couple noticeable endorsements; Mercer-Burlington Building Trades Council, whose president is Greenstein’s district-colleague Asm Wayne DeAngelo will seek Greenstein’s seat if she wins the seat, and CWA Local 1036.

    CD12 is New Jersey’s best shot to send a woman to Congress, in a field that also includes Asm Upendra Chivukula, who I believe would be the first Indian-American ever in NJ’s congressional delegation. I don’t have figures yet for Greenstein and Chivukula; the filing deadline is April 15. This race, with just 60 days to go till the primary, still feels fluid.

    The Watson Coleman campaign also listed her recent endorsements, so I’ll post those below the fold.

  • CD12: Paula Sollami Covello out, throws support to Bonnie Watson Coleman

    It’s looking more and more like we may get a woman following Rush Holt in the solidly Dem congressional seat he’s announced he’ll retire from. This morning, Mercer County Exec Brian Hughes announced he wouldn’t run, because “We need a progressive woman in Congress” (he didn’t specify, but Bonnie Watson Coleman lives in his home county of Mercer). And now, via Facebook, Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello is taking herself out of the running, to support Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman:


    As I expressed to you yesterday, I am deeply humbled and appreciative of your overwhelming support. So, I am sharing with you first this news of my decision regarding my candidacy for Congress, District 12.

    After two days of intense conversation with my family and political advisors, and some other candidates interested in running, I have decided to withdrawal my name from consideration for the 12th Congressional seat race this year. I will endorse Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman for the race.

    Bonnie has been a great representative of my legislative district in representing all of the towns therein. Further, Bonnie shares many of my values when it comes to being a progressive voice in government. She truly cares for people and she will fight for human rights, voting rights and for middle-class families. She is also a strong voice for women.

    As for myself, I have work to continue to perform in the Mercer County Clerk’s Office. My family is still young and I hope and believe that I can run for Congress or another leadership position in the coming years. For now, I am running for re-election for my current position as Mercer County Clerk in 2015.

    Thank you so much, and let’s continue to enjoy one another’s friendship.

    Rush Holt Will Not Run for Re-Election

    Rush Holt on Valentines Day 2014As a Rush Holt campaign staff alum, this breaks my heart. That is, unless it will be replaced with information that he is not in fact leaving public life, and only leaving the U.S. House of Representatives.

    This was sent to constituents and supporters a few minutes ago:

    Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

    It has been and remains an immense honor for me to represent the people of New Jersey’s 12th District.  I first ran for office because I believed that government can be a positive force in our lives to build community and to increase individual opportunity.  I ran for office because I believed that a representative can build confidence in our self-government by providing conscientious service so that every person knows that he or she has a voice and a stake in our country.  After nearly two decades in public life, I believe these things even more strongly.  I have been taught by the wisdom of my constituents and am as hopeful as ever about the strength of our community, constitution, and country.

    I started my career as a scientist and teacher.  I have in my life sought many ways to serve, and I will remain involved and will contribute to our community to whom I owe so much.  I am proud of my service in the House and am pleased to point to accomplishments in policy areas and in service to individuals in central New Jersey.  

    There is no hidden motive for my decision.  As friends who have worked with me know, I have never thought that the primary purpose of my work was re-election and I have never intended to make service in the House my entire career.  For a variety of reasons, personal and professional, all of them positive and optimistic, the end of this year seems to me to be the right time to step aside and ask the voters to select the next representative.

    This is not the time to discuss next steps in my career; that can come later.  This is not a farewell.  My dedicated staff and I remain on the job this year and will work hard with the President and New Jersey’s fine other members of the House and the Senate to continue to advance the public’s interests. The people I am so fortunate to represent should have no doubts that I will maintain the high standards I have set and they deserve and I am confident my successors will do the same.

    I thank you for all your help.


    Rush Holt

    The info was given first to the New York Times.

    Rush Holt on Budget

    promoted by Rosi

    On August 1, while John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and their colleagues were threatening to shut down the government, Rush Holt gave a speech describing the budget debate as:

    at its heart, a debate between two visions for America. One side envisions rebuilding our country, investing in jobs and education and infrastructure, and rising from the Great Recession as a stronger and more resilient Nation. The other side accepts a pessimistic vision of a weakened America with a shrunken government-a Nation hampered by deep cuts to the safety net and hobbled by a refusal to invest in our future.

    I couldn’t agree more. And, like the Honorable Representative from the 12th District, I hold with the former.

    Here’s the full text, after the jump, of his August 1, 2011 speech. It will be in the Congressional Record as soon as it is updated – assuming, of course, that funds will be budgeted for updating and maintaining the Congressional Record.