Veteran legislator Bonnie Watson-Coleman has become the third candidate to announce her intention to seek a reliably Democratic congressional seat held by the retiring Rep. Rush Holt.



Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D) (

Watson-Coleman told The Associated Press Thursday that she and Holt share similar beliefs in fighting for human, civil and environmental rights.

Holt unexpectedly announced his plan to step down after eight terms Tuesday.

State Sen. Linda Greenstein and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula also intend to run.

Watson-Coleman is a former Democratic Party chairwoman who has served in the state Assembly for 16 years in a seat once held by her late father, John S. Watson.

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes on Thursday announced that he will not mount a campaign for the seat. "I’ve decided that what our New Jersey congressional delegation needs is the presence of a strong progressive female, and that Mercer County would be best served if, like Rush Holt, that representative was a resident of Mercer County," Hughes said in a statement according to the Star-Ledger.

The district stretches from Trenton to Plainfield and includes parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties.

There are no women in New Jersey's 12-member congressional delegation.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)