Representative Rush D. Holt Jr. of New Jersey, a research physicist who became Congress’s chief advocate for scientific research over eight terms, announced on Tuesday that he is not seeking re-election this year. Mr. Holt, 65, joins 12 fellow Democrats, and 21 Republicans, in an exodus from the House. But in an interview, he said he was not bemoaning what he acknowledged was “a certain level of dysfunction” in Congress. “Congress, even with its frustrations, is the greatest instrument for justice and human welfare in the world,” he said. “The stories trying to puzzle out why someone would do something else are based on this rather narrow way of thinking that the only purpose for a member of Congress is to be re-elected. I’ve never viewed it that way, and I think everybody who’s worked with me knows that I think there are a lot of things that I can and should be doing.”
…Mr. Holt is perhaps most popularly known as the five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who later won a celebrity round against Watson, the IBM supercomputer. In and around Princeton, where he had been assistant director of the Plasma Physics Laboratory, bumper stickers on Priuses proudly proclaim “My Congressman IS a Rocket Scientist.”
… Mr. Holt pushed for safeguards to touch-screen voting machines, and Internet privacy in the face of widened government surveillance.