NJ's other celebrity candidate

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The weather isn't promising, and neither are the polls, as volunteers Jay Lassiter and Trevor Powell  "drop signs" in Cherry Hill, NJ Thursday morning for U.S. Senate hopeful Rush Holt.

The cerebral Mercer County Democrat's campaign may seem quixotic, given front-runner Cory Booker's sheer celebrity firepower and fundraising advantage. There's also the fact that this special four-way Democratic primary and two-candidate Republican contest are set for August 13, when few voters will be paying attention -- much less, casting ballots.

But Lassiter and Powell, who are veterans of the marriage equality battle in New Jersey, are unswayed by Booker's showmanship. They're convinced that veteran House member,  "teacher-scientist-progressive" (as the slogan says) and five-time Jeopardy! winner Holt will jolt the Senate with his smarts.

"Rush Holt is a genius...and Cory Booker is a phony," says Lassiter, 41, a consultant who lives in Cherry Hill.

Powell, a 24-year-old Temple University student from Voorhees, cites Holt's support for marriage equality, public education, "and the full repeal of the Patriot Act."

I enjoy riding with these two enthusiastic liberals, but rain cuts short the mission after they've placed only a half-dozen signs around town. So it's back to Holt's southern NJ headquarters in an anonymous Route 70 strip mall,  where a handful of young volunteers and regional field director Eric Fischer, 21, continue getting ready to get out the vote.

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