TRENTON — After former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer (R-Delaware Twp.) challenged then-freshman U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell) in 2000, redistricting gave Democrats a large registration advantage in that congressional district.
And since Zimmer’s extremely narrow defeat almost a decade ago, no challengers to Holt have come close.
“In a normal year, it would be very difficult. But this is not a normal year,” said Zimmer, who stood in the War Memorial hallway talking to U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Vineland) about the Massachusetts U.S. senate race.
“Rush Holt has become a pretty reliable vote for the entire big government agenda, which has not been very popular this year,” said Zimmer.
Two Republicans are running in a primary with the aim of taking on Holt in November: Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre and Princeton venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle.
Zimmer, who works as a lobbyist in Washington, DC, signed on to Halfacre’s finance committee months ago – before Sipprelle entered the race. He said that he plans to meet with Sipprelle soon, but that he will continue to support Halfacre.
“I made a commitment, and I’m going to keep my commitment,” he said. “Based on what I know about Mike, and I met with him a few times, and what I know about Sipprelle, I think they’re both strong candidates, and I think they can take advantage of a Republican tide and surprise a lot of people.”