Congressman Rush Holt (D. NJ-02) is just awesome:
More below the fold.U.S. Rep. Rush Holt touches the third rail in the healthcare debate in his latest ad in support of his U.S. Senate bid, arguing that a single-payer healthcare system is the “only solution.’’
In the fifth in a series of whiteboard, internet-only ads the campaign has titled the “Geek Out” series, Holt uses a litany of statistics to debunk the argument that the American healthcare system is the best in the world – a common refrain used by critics of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare.’’
“We rank fifty-first in life expectancy, fifty-first in infant mortality, forty-eighth in maternal mortality, forty-third in suicide rates, and forty-seventh in hospital beds,’’ Holt says. “In fact, there’s only one measure by which American health care consistently leads the world: cost.”
And the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislation that U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone – a competitor in the U.S. Senate race – helped craft, does not go far enough to fix the problem, Holt says.
“ObamaCare will help, but not enough,’’ Holt says. - Little Silver-Oceanport Patch, 7/24/13
Another big issue Holt touched upon this week was climate change:
Of course Tea Party Republican candidate Steve Lonegan is trying to make Holt look like an environmental extremist but Lonegan is the real extremist here:
U.S. Senate candidate Rush Holt said his claim made Monday that “millions will die” if something isn’t done to address global warming was reality, not hyperbole.
“I think it’s no exaggeration at all to say that millions will die. And in fact there’s pretty good evidence that millions already have died because of climate change,” Holt, a congressman from central New Jersey who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, said in a Star-Ledger editorial board meeting this morning.
Holt made the statement in an internet-only campaign ad, in which he called for a tax on carbon emissions. It drew criticism from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan, who called the 15-second spot “silly hysteria.” Lonegan also said it’s “highly questionable” that global warming is a man-made problem, despite widespread scientific consensus on the issue.
“It’s not hysteria. It’s documented,” Holt said, saying that global warming’s effects are felt in more than just natural disasters.
“If you talk to the World Health Organization and International Health Groups, they’ll tell you because of diseases – it’s not just from storm damage, it’s other aspects of climate change affecting our oceans,” he said. - The Star-Ledger, 7/24/13
Here's a little more info on that pledge Lonegan signed:Republican U.S. Senate Candidate, Mayor Steve Lonegan, today blasted a new Congressman Holt web ad, calling it "silly hysteria" and accused Holt of using climate change to resort to the same, tired liberal solution to every problem: increased taxes that further weigh down the private sector, where good jobs are created. Mayor Lonegan said, "America has seventeen trillion dollars of federal debt. Congressman Holt is attempting to salvage his long-shot candidacy with this ultra-left-wing idea of cap and trade that, if implemented, would force New Jersey's working families to pay higher taxes for energy, and drive more American jobs overseas.
"I signed the No Climate Tax pledge because I oppose the idea of making consumers pay more to fight the silly hysteria that Congressman Holt puts forward in his web video. Unfortunately, all the candidates on the Democrat side, along with President Obama, support this view. - The Star-Ledger, 7/22/13
Another big issue Holt's been touching upon is domestic surveillance:The "No Climate Tax Pledge" was organized by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative public policy organization co-founded by fossil fuel magnates Charles and David Koch. Lonegan was once the executive director of the group's New Jersey branch.
The pledge asks officials to promise to vote against climate change legislation that includes "a net increase in government revenue." It has been circulating for the last few years, garnering the signatures of hundreds of state and federal officials across the country — mostly Republicans.
Lonegan said he signed the pledge to protect New Jersey residents from "hidden taxes."
"As our economy struggles to recover under President Obama's heavy hand, the last thing we need is more regulations and taxes," Lonegan said in a statement. "A cap-and-trade tax would have a devastating effect on all New Jerseyans, and would hit our already struggling manufacturing sector especially hard." - The Star-Ledger, 7/22/13
Holt's call for repealing the Patriot Act earned him Glenn Greenwald's endorsement:Soon, I will introduce legislation that would repeal the laws that brought us our current “surveillance state”: the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act. My bill would restore the probable cause-based warrant requirement for any surveillance against an American citizen being proposed on the basis of an alleged threat to the nation. And it would, for the first time, provide genuine legal protections for the Thomas Drakes of the world. - Asbury Park Press, 7/11/13
Every candidate in this race seems to be finding a way to define themselves in this race. Like Congressman Frank Pallone (D. NJ-06) as the Congressman who gets things done:His reasons for supporting Holt are myriad. On Twitter, Greenwald has called the race's Democratic frontrunner, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a "Wall-St-controlled crony capitalism candidate." Holt, he told POLITICO, is just the opposite of that.
"I've long been an admirer of Holt for reasons going way beyond his unusually firm defense of civil liberties and opposition to secrecy. He's one of the few members of Congress who understands the evils of crony capitalism and its corrosive effect on Congress," Greenwald explained.
"He took the lead in calling for independent investigations into the anthrax attacks because -- as a physicist -- he knew the FBI's claims to have solved the case were dubious in the extreme. And he's long been one of the most honest, smartest, and most independent members of Congress," Greenwald continued. "Unlike the establishment, Wall-Street-dependent Booker, he'd actually be an interesting and novel addition to the Senate." - Politico, 7/19/13
Pallone's also been painting himself as the one who will continue Senator Frank Lautneberg's (D. NJ) legacy in the Senate:Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr. says he has spent his career in Congress working and succeeding on issues, such as the environment and health care, that affect regular citizens.
Those efforts, he argues, are indicative of the work ethic he would bring to the U.S. Senate.
“I’m the person who can get things done,” said Pallone, D-N.J., staking his ground in a meeting Thursday with the editorial board of the Asbury Park Press and other Gannett New Jersey newspapers. That ability makes him more qualified for the Senate than his opponents, all of whom have staked out their own ground in the race, he said.
“When I was first elected to Congress, we had all the beach closings of 1988, because we had these ocean-dumping sites and medical waste washing ashore. I vowed when I came before the Asbury Park Press editorial board that if I was elected I was going to close the sites and clean up the ocean, and I basically did that,” Pallone said. “We closed some of them through legislative efforts where we reached across the aisle and got Republicans and Democrats involved. In other cases, we pushed the federal agencies (to close dump sites in the Atlantic).” - Daily Record, 7/26/13
Booker's also trying to define himself as a progressive choice for the Senate:
Pallone, who has unveiled a series of online videos, stuck with his theme of being an average New Jersey resident in the new ad. He touts his family and background, along with his record in Congress, including fighting against the tea party and working on Obamacare.
“Frank Pallone stopped the tea party from wrecking Social Security," the ad says.
Pallone continues to emphasize his endorsement from the Lautenberg family, including a Monday event he has planned with Bonnie Lautenberg, the late senator's widow. Lautenberg and Booker feuded in the months prior to Lautenberg's death. While Pallone has picked up the family's backing, Essex County Freeholder Brendan Gill, who ran Lautenberg's state operation, has become a top political adviser to Booker. - Huffington Post, 7/22/13
Sheila Oliver (D) is trying to paint herself as the pragmatic candidate:
Booker's commercial zeros in on Social Security, and features the popular Newark mayor addressing a series of issues including equal pay, a higher minimum wage and ending child poverty to promote equality.
“No matter what your background, race, culture, gay or straight, North Jersey or South Jersey, rich or poor, are lives are interconnected," Booker said. "We cannot have politics that divide instead of bringing us together.”
Booker's insistence that he will stand up for Social Security follows Oliver's accusations that he is not answering her questions on the issue. Oliver, who has been lagging in the polls, attacked Booker for taking to Twitter to answer questions about the movie "Snarknado," yet failing to respond to her. - Huffington Post, 7/22/13
Booker, who has been leading in the polls, believes his fame will help him secure the nominee:Sheila Oliver is a Democrat and has been all her adult life. But in seeking nomination for U.S. Senate, the Assembly speaker is emphasizing pragmatism over ideology, even pointing with pride to bucking her party on one of Trenton’s most contentious votes of recent years.
“The word I would use to describe myself is not a political term. I believe that I am a pragmatic politician. I don’t believe there is a Republican way or a Democratic way or an independent way to build highways in New Jersey. I don’t think that there is a political ideology attached to addressing certain issues,” Oliver told the editorial boards of Gannett New Jersey newspapers Wednesday.
“While I am liberal on many social issues – for instance, I am a pro-choice politician. I certainly have more socially liberal positions. I certainly support marriage equality,” Oliver said. “Those supports are generally associated with someone who is ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive.’ But I like to consider myself as a pragmatic politician. I address issues and adopt positions issue by issue.”
Oliver, an administrator for the Essex County government, is in her fifth term in the Assembly. She’s been the Assembly speaker since 2010. - Asbury Park Press, 7/25/13
Conservative Super PACs are spending big to try and defeat Booker:Booker said he likes, respects and won't disparage U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone Jr., both D-N.J., and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, D-Essex, but would take office with more sway than the typical senator last on the seniority list.
"It's ridiculous for any of us to be slamming each other, especially when on the overwhelming majority of things that I hear them saying they voted for, I would vote in the right way," Booker said. "But I would do voting plus. Anybody knows who looks at New Jersey and the nation that I've been a much more effective voice for progressive causes than they have, just because I find ways to break through the noise of the country and more effectively advocate and get things done."
Booker said a Senate leader he wouldn't identify told him in a Monday morning phone call that "we urgently need you down here because you are different" — in terms of technology savvy, as an urban mayor, as potentially the only black Democratic senator. He said he's been asked to get "out working for the party" soon if he wins and noted he was co-chairman of the platform committee last year. - USA Today, 7/23/13
But Booker doesn't need to worry, he already has Super PACs working in his favor:
The new American Commitment Action Fund super PAC is set to launch a $100,000 online ad buy against Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) in the New Jersey special Senate election.
The ad, a copy of which was shared with Post Politics before its launch, features clips from Booker’s own ads and criticizes him for his record as mayor. It features clips of Newark Democrats — most notably City Councilman Ras Baraka — hitting Booker’s leadership.
The ad will be featured on a new Web site — BookerFail.com — starting Tuesday.
American Commitment, the super PAC’s nonprofit arm, launched in 2012 and spent about $6 million on the 2012 election. Phil Kerpen, head of both arms and a former aide at Americans for Prosperity, said the super PAC will be a major player in the 2014 election. - Washington Post, 7/22/13
Plus top Democrats have faith that Booker will be the victor:As of June 30, Booker had raised $6.5 million, according to FEC filings. His campaign got a bump this week when a Super PAC called the Mobilization Project spent about $75,000 on canvassing operations. Those expenditures were first reported by the Center for Public Integrity.
The independent expenditure-only group registered with the FEC on July 15. It does not have a website, and its treasurer, Gary Gruver, did not respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment Friday.
Gruver is also an assistant treasurer for the September Fund, a liberal tax-exempt group organized under Section 527 of the tax code.
The group has been relatively quiet since the 2006 cycle, when it spent nearly $5 million. One of its donors was then-Sen. Jon S. Corzine, who gave $100,000 on Nov. 1 of that year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/27/13
But Holt believes that it will take a lot more than fame to win the nominee:Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid portrayed Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s election to the Senate as a foregone conclusion and gushed with encouragement for Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016 in a recent interview.
The Nevada Democrat was pressed about the lack of black senators in the wake of President Barack Obama’s comments last week on Trayvon Martin.
“Oh, just hold your breath,” Reid told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff in an interview, parts of which aired Wednesday. “Cory Booker’s on his way from New Jersey. And that’ll happen in October.” - Roll Call, 7/25/13
We shall see but if you were to define Holt's candidacy, I guess you would call it "one of a kind":Statewide name recognition "is not irrelevant but not particularly important,'' says Holt, who has represented central New Jersey since 1999. "I don't think the fact that they've seen Cory on Ellen Degeneres is going to motivate them to go to the poll.''
In other words, Booker has a national name and 1.4 million Twitter followers, but they aren't all going to come home from the beach to vote for him. In a race that's a recipe for low turnout, a seven-term congressman has as much ability to get his voters to the polls as a city mayor, Holt says.
"The victory will go not to the person with the greatest name recognition, who is clearly Cory Booker, but rather to the person who has the deepest support,'' he says. "The strongest support, not the broadest support, and the best organization.''
That's the theory, at least. "If there were ever a primary where he could (beat Booker), this is it,'' says Jean Holtz, who works for a non-profit development corporation and greeted Holt as he campaigned at a festival here. "Cory has a name, but I don't think he knows how to run a statewide organization.'' - USA Today, 7/21/13
You can still sign up to "geek out" with Holt on July 30th. Just go here:"From my earliest memories, I've been in interested in how things work, that's science, and how people work together, that's politics," Holt told The Times. "I know some people find it unusual. I see no inconsistency there."
Holt, who is in his 15th year in Congress, is vying for the Democratic nomination in next month's U.S. Senate primary election. Prior to assuming office in 1998, Holt held a variety of positions from professor of physics, public policy and religion at Swarthmore College, to monitoring nuclear programs for the U.S. State Department, and serving as assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University.
Asked what coaxed him out of the classroom and laboratory and into Congress, Holt's response is simple: Newt Gingrich, a conservative Republican congressman. In the years that have followed since he was elected, Holt said that his background in science and academia has been a strength during his time as a congressman and is an advantage he holds over the field in next month's election.
"On these big issues facing the country, I come at them grounded in evidence," Holt said. - The Montclair Times, 7/22/13
But if you can't do the "Geek Out", you can go here to donate and get involved Holt's campaign: