- Associated Press - Thursday, February 20, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - 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.

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 (chiv-uh-KU-la) 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.

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.