Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) said Tuesday night in the Marvin Center that if Sen. Jon Corzine wins the race for New Jersey governor, he might run for the vacant U.S. Senate seat.
Before a crowd of about 50 people in the Marvin Center Amphitheatre, Holt spoke about a variety of issues from the ongoing CIA leak investigation to how to improve national security. Holt said if New Jersey residents elect Corzine, a Democrat, as governor of the Garden State over Republican Doug Forrester, he may run for higher office.
"Corzine knows I'm interested," Holt said when asked about a possible Democratic successor to a vacant Senate seat. "If I can win the 12th (District), I can win statewide."
In 1998, Holt defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Michael Pappas by 3 percentage points to become the state's 12th district congressman, representing an area that encompasses five counties in central New Jersey.
Holt said the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia in early November could have major reverberations in 2008, the year of the next presidential election.
"The New Jersey and Virginia (gubernatorial) races are the first two battles of the next presidential race," Holt said.
Holt encouraged the crowd of College Democrats to campaign in New Jersey "if you've got nothing to do the next two weeks," as well as in Virginia, where College Democrats have been campaigning for candidate Tim Kaine and College Republicans have been making trips to support candidate Jerry Kilgore.
Holt began his speech by talking briefly about the possible indictment charges against top Republican leadership officials in the White House for possibly leaking the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame. He accused the White House of being "more interested in cronyism . and political maneuvering than national security."
Holt also took a strong stance on President Bush's foreign policy, including his handling of the war in Iraq.
"The president's policy has made things worse," Holt said. "Our presence is not making things better."
Holt said he wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this month encouraging the administration to begin pulling out of Iraq immediately following the approval of the new Iraqi constitution. In the letter, he recognized the importance of training soldiers for a new Iraqi military but felt that the U.S. presence would "slow down, not hasten" the transfer of power to Iraqi security forces.
Although Holt is a member of the Senate's National Security Committee, his background in the physical sciences prompted discussion about science and math education, which he classified as "national security" concerns.
Holt also spoke about the ongoing evolution debate.
"People say it is not a fact, but neither is the theory of gravitation," Holt said. "Yet no one in this room is levitating."
He dismissed the new theory of intelligent design, which states that a higher power may be responsible for the creation of the universe, as a euphemism for creationism and said it does not belong in the science classroom.
Holt, a physicist by training, said, "It is not science."