Calling himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate in the mold of state Sen. Leonard Lance and former state Sen. Bill Schluter, Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt formally declared his candidacy for state senate in the 23rd district today to local municipal chairs and elected officials.
“It is time that the traditional Republican principles of low taxes, responsible government, transparency and impeccable integrity become the hallmarks of New Jersey governance,” wrote Holt in a letter to Republican county committee members from Hunterdon and Warren that's set to widely distributed tomorrow. “As your State Senator, I will pledge total commitment to these principles.”
Holt, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. Clifford P. Case, joins Assemblyman Mike Doherty (R-Washington Twp.) of Warren County and Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington), a fellow Hunterdon County resident, in the race to succeed state Sen. Leonard Lance, who was just elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the letter, which is dated Dec. 4, Holt bemoaned the state’s business climate, Council on Affordable Housing regulations, high property taxes and government debt.
“My service in office has been grounded on true fiscal conservatism and social moderation, in the same fashion as Senator Leonard Lance and, before him, Senator Bill Schluter. I will exert every effort while in office to maintain this legacy,” he wrote.
The declaration of social moderation puts Holt’s ideology in conflict with Doherty’s. Doherty, a staunchly pro-life global warming skeptic who endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) for president, is considered one of the most conservative members of the legislature – both on social and fiscal issues.
Lance's interim replacement will be decided at a special convention next month by members of the Republican county committees from Hunterdon and Warren Counties, which comprise the 23rd Legislative District. Like Doherty, Holt intends to run in the June Republican primary if he is not picked to fill the seat. Karrow does not plan to run in the primary if she does not win the convention.