|New Jersey's 12th congressional district|
District map as of 2013
New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional district is represented by Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman. The district is known for its research centers and educational institutions such as Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Institute for Advanced Study, Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Historically, the 12th and its predecessors had been a swing district. However, redistricting following the United States Census, 2000 gave the district a somewhat bluer hue than its predecessor. It absorbed most of Trenton, along with a number of other municipalities.
The redistricting made second-term Democrat Rush D. Holt Jr. considerably more secure; he had narrowly defeated freshman Republican Michael Pappas in 1998, and had only held on to his seat against Dick Zimmer (who represented the district from 1991 to 1997) by 651 votes. In 2002, despite an expensive challenge from former New Jersey Secretary of State Buster Soaries, Holt was re-elected with 61%.
Since then, the 12th has trended into a Democratic-leaning district, as measured by the Cook PVI. In 2004, Holt was re-elected over real estate executive Bill Spadea (59–41%) and again in 2006 over former Helmetta Council President Joseph Sinagra (65–35%).
In 2008, Holt defeated Holmdel Township Deputy Mayor Alan Bateman (62–36%).
In 2010, while Democrats suffered huge House loses, Holt defeated Princeton venture capitalist Scott Sipprelle and Independent Kenneth J. Cody (53–46–1%).
Holt retired in 2014, and was succeeded by State Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Counties and municipalities in the district
A change was made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013 with the 113th United States Congress, based on the results of the 2010 United States Census. The district currently contains portions of four counties and 31 municipalities:
Mercer County (10)
- East Windsor Township, Ewing Township, Hightstown, Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township, Lawrence Township, Pennington, Princeton, Trenton and West Windsor Township
Middlesex County (14)
- Cranbury Township, Dunellen, East Brunswick Township, Helmetta, Jamesburg, Middlesex, Milltown, Monroe Township, North Brunswick Township, Old Bridge Township (part, also 6th), Plainsboro Township, South Brunswick Township, South River Borough, and Spotswood Borough
Somerset County (4)
Union County (3)
Recent election results
|2000||President||Gore 56 - 40%|
|2004||President||Kerry 54 - 46%|
|2008||President||Obama 58 - 41%|
|2012||President||Obama 66.5 - 32%|
|2016||President||Clinton 65 - 32%|
List of members representing the district
|District Home||Electoral history||Counties/Towns|
|District created March 4, 1913|
|James A. Hamill||Democratic||March 4, 1913 –
March 3, 1921
|Jersey City||Redistricted from the 10th district.
||parts of Jersey City|
Charles F. X. O'Brien
|Democratic||March 4, 1921 –
March 3, 1925
Mary Teresa Norton
|Democratic||March 4, 1925 –
March 3, 1933
Redistricted to the 13th district.
Frederick R. Lehlbach
|Republican||March 4, 1933 –
January 3, 1937
|Newark||Redistricted from the 10th district.
||parts of Essex|
|Frank William Towey Jr.||Democratic||January 3, 1937 –
January 3, 1939
|Republican||January 3, 1939 –
January 3, 1959
George M. Wallhauser
|Republican||January 3, 1959 –
January 3, 1965
Paul J. Krebs
|Democratic||January 3, 1965 –
January 3, 1967
Florence P. Dwyer
|Republican||January 3, 1967 –
January 3, 1973
|Redistricted from the 6th district.
||parts of Essex and Union|
Matthew John Rinaldo
|Republican||January 3, 1973 –
January 3, 1983
Redistricted to the 7th district.
|parts of Union|
|Republican||January 3, 1983 –
January 3, 1985
|Hackettstown||Redistricted from the 13th district.
||parts of Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren|
|January 3, 1985 –
January 3, 1991
|Hunterdon and parts of Mercer (Princeton and West Windsor), Middlesex,
Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren
|Republican||January 3, 1991 –
January 3, 1993
Retired to run for U.S. Senator
|January 3, 1993 –
January 3, 1997
|parts of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset|
Michael James Pappas
|Republican||January 3, 1997 –
January 3, 1999
Rush D. Holt Jr.
|Democratic||January 3, 1999 –
January 3, 2003
|Hopewell Township (Mercer)|
|January 3, 2003 –
January 3, 2013
parts of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset
|January 3, 2013 –
January 3, 2015
|Mercer (except Hamilton and Robbinsville), Middlesex (Cranbury, Dunellen, East Brunswick, Helmetta, Jamesburg, Middlesex, Milltown, Monroe, North Brunswick, Plainsboro, South Brunswick, South River, and Spotswood), Somerset (Bound Brook, Franklin Township, Manville and South Bound Brook), and Union (Fanwood, Plainfield, and part of Scotch Plains)|
Bonnie Watson Coleman
|Democratic||January 3, 2015 –
Living former members of the House
As of January 2019[update], there are four living former members. The most recent representative to die was Matthew John Rinaldo (served 1973–1983) on October 13, 2008.
|Representative||Term of office||Date of birth (and age)|
|Jim Courter||1983–1991||October 14, 1941|
|Dick Zimmer||1991–1997||August 16, 1944|
|Michael James Pappas||1997–1999||December 29, 1960|
|Rush Holt Jr.||1999–2015||October 15, 1948|
- "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
- Barone, Michael; Richard E. Cohen (2008). The Almanac of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: National Journal Group and Atlantic Media Company. pp. 14, 1084. ISBN 978-0-89234-117-7.
- Plan Components Report, New Jersey Redistricting Commission, December 23, 2011. Accessed November 6, 2016.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
- Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
- Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present