Republican candidate Scott Sipprelle and incumbent Democratic Congressman Russ Holt are battling for your vote in the New Jersey 12th Congressional District. I did write an article on July 20, 2010 titled, “The New Jersey 12th Congressional District: 2010 U.S. House Election Coverage” that outlined the district and the candidates. The election is less than a week away and both candidates have been campaigning heavily. The 12th District has been considered a safe Democratic seat but Congressman Holt has been fighting to maintain his lead.
The Geography of the New Jersey 12th Congressional District
The New Jersey 12th Congressional District stretches across the center of the State and includes all or parts off Monmouth, Middlesex, Hunterdon and Mercer counties.
The New Jersey12th Congressional District Demographics
As of November 2009, the State of New Jersey, Division of Elections shows voter registration by party affiliation in the 12Th District as follows:
• Democrats 148,160
• Republicans 82,496
• Independents 212,684
• Third Parties There is a very small fraction of voters registered in Third Parties.
• Total 443,582
The Candidates for the New Jersey 12th Congressional District
Rush Holt is the six term incumbent Democratic Congressman; Congressman Holt is a Liberal Democrat and supporter of President Obama. Congressman Holt has voted along with the Democratic Party approximately 98% of the time; he supported the Health Care Bill (ObamaCare) and the Obama Stimulus Bills.
Scott Sipprelle is a businessman and has never held political office; Sipprelle is much more fiscally conservative than Holt. Sipprelle is focused on controlling government spending, debt reduction, job creation and tax reform.
Kenneth J. Cody is a third party candidate and at this stage of the race is not a viable candidate; the battle for the 12th District is between Sipprelle and Holt.
The candidates all maintain websites which are included in the sources below. I suggest you check out each candidate’s website to review their positions on the major issues.
Campaign Activities and Strategies
In addition to their scheduled campaign events both Sipprelle and Holt have been using television advertisements to get their message out. I have found some of the advertisements of both candidates to be somewhat negative.
Mr. Sipprelle basically is trying to tie Congressman Holt to the Democratic agenda set forth by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid. Sipprelle’s ads points out that Holt has voted consistently for that agenda and the policies have failed to create jobs or invigorate the economy. This strategy is a common Republican strategy for this election; that is to tie Democrats to the failed policies of the President and the Democratic leadership. The strategy for the challenger is to associate the incumbent with one of the most ineffective Congressional sessions on record.
Congressman Holt has also been running numerous television advertisements. One of Holt’s advertisements uses a Democratic strategy for this election year; that strategy is to paint the Republicans as Wall Street lackeys who want to turn the clock back.
Polling Information for the New Jersey 12th Congressional District
Monmouth University polls released on October 28, 2010 shows Congressman Holt with an 8 point lead over Mr. Sipprelle; the poll showed Holt favored 51%-43%. The poll points out that Mr. Sipprelle lacks name recognition in the district.
Mr. Sipprelle has strong support in Monmouth County leading by 60%-35% of those polled while Congressman Holt has strong support in the western part of the district in Mercer and Hunterdon Counties leading 63%-35%. Holt leads in Middlesex County by a 52%-42% margin.
Among independent voters Mr. Sipprelle leads by 51%-40%.
The polls also show that by party affiliation both Democrats and Republicans generally support the candidate of their party.
Congressman Holt holds a strong lead but his reelection is not a given; Mr. Sipprelle is within reach of pulling off an upset victory.
Registered Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans in the district; however, Independents make up the largest voting block. The candidates need to energize their voter base and ensure they get the voters out on Tuesday. A lopsided turnout can impact this race.
Mr. Sipprelle and Congressman Holt are both passionate about serving the New Jersey 12th Congressional District and both candidates have a solid command of the issues. Congressman Holt and Mr. Sipprelle have distinctly different platforms on solving the problems facing the 12th District, New Jersey and the Nation. It is clear they propose distinctly different solutions to revitalize the economy.
If you live in the New Jersey 12th Congressional District and plan on voting Tuesday, I recommend you take a few minutes to review the candidate’s positions on their website.
The New Jersey 12th Congressional District: 2010 U.S. House Election Coverage
Monmouth University Polling Institute
Monmouth University Polling Institute
Rush Holt – Official Congressional Website
Rush Holt – Campaign Website
Scott Sipprelle – Campaign Website
Kenneth J. Cody – Campaign Website
State of New Jersey, Department of State, Division of Elections
DC’s Political Report
Cook Political Report