N.J. physicist seeks to follow Holt’s footsteps to Congress

    Among the four Democrats battling to succeed U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, who is retiring from Congress at the end of the year, political newcomer Andrew Zwicker says he’s best positioned to follow in Holt’s footsteps.

    Zwicker, 49, believes he’s the closest thing to a Rush Holt you’re going to find in this race to represent Central New Jersey’s 12th District. Like Holt, Zwicker is a Princeton physicist. And he heads the very Science Education Department that Holt started at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

    Born and raised in Englewood, Zwicker has never held or run for elective office before. Coming to the  game without political endorsements, he said his effort won’t look like a typical campaign.

    “I have a large number of students, both undergraduate and high school students, who are volunteering and interning on the team,” Zwicker said.  “And so we have, I think, this really wonderful, diverse group of very dedicated members who are all organizing and helping to make this campaign a reality.”

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    Zwicker said he was persuaded to get in the race by Democrats and Republicans who believe Congress needs the perspective of scientists more than politicians.

    “A person whose training is in politics, or a person whose training is in law, is not necessarily the best person to really come up with what are the right solutions for improving the American education system,” Zwicker said, “[or] what are the right places that we need to invest our federal tax dollars in research, in medicine, in technology.”

    Zwicker faces state Sen. Linda Greenstein, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Assemblyman Upendra Chivakula in the June 3 Democratic primary.

    Including parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties, the 12th District is seen as a likely win for Democrats in the Nov. 4 general election. 

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