Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) won’t seek re-election.
“From my point of view, Congress, even with its frustrations, is the greatest instrument for justice and human welfare in the world,” Holt said according to the New York Times, which first broke the news of Holt’s retirement. “The stories trying to puzzle out why someone would do something else are based on this rather narrow way of thinking that the only purpose for a member of Congress is to be re-elected. I’ve never viewed it that way, and I think everybody who’s worked with me knows that I think there are a lot of things that I can and should be doing.”
Holt, a physicist, is actually a five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who also beat the IBM supercomputer Watson in a celebrity round of the gameshow.
Holt was first elected to New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District in 1998. The district had previously been held by Republicans for over 30 years. Since then,, though, the district has become reliably Democratic. In 2012 President Barack Obama won the district 67 percent to Mitt Romney’s 33 percent. In 2008 Obama won the district 66 percent to Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) 33 percent.