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On page 823 of his book My Life, former President Bill Clinton says: ” In New Jersey, a physics professor named Rush Holt was behind by 20% ten days before the election. He pushed one TV ad highlighting his opposition to impeachment, and won a seat no Democrat had held in a century.” While Holt’s victory over freshman Republican Congressman Michael Pappas was indeed stunning, Clinton wasn’t technically correct about the seat being held by the GOP for a hundred years. Democrat Helen Meyner, the husband of former Governor Robert Meyner and a cousin of former Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, won in 1974 when she ousted one-term incumbent Joseph Maraziti in the Watergate landslide. Meyner held the seat in 1976, narrowly beating William Schluter, but lost her 1978 re-election campaign against James Courter. Courter left Congress in 1990 and was replaced by Republican Richard Zimmer, who was succeeded by Pappas when he ran for U.S. Senate in 1996. Clinton seems to have a genuine affinity for Holt; Clinton and Holt, both Southerners, were college professors who lost their first bids for public office. Holt’s father, Rush Dew Holt, served as a United States Senator from West Virginia from 1935 (he was elected at age 29 and had to wait three months until he turned thirty) to 1941.

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