Washington (CNN) - Rep. Rush Holt, an eight-term Democrat from New Jersey, nuclear physicist, and five-time "Jeopardy" winner, announced Tuesday that he'll retire at the end of the year rather than run for re-election in November.
"There is no hidden motive for my decision. As friends who have worked with me know, I have never thought that the primary purpose of my work was re-election and I have never intended to make service in the House my entire career."
"For a variety of reasons, personal and professional, all of them positive and optimistic, the end of this year seems to me to be the right time to step aside and ask the voters to select the next representative," said Holt in a statement on Facebook.
Holt represents New Jersey's 12th Congressional District, which stretches from the Delaware River and Trenton north and east through Princeton to New Brunswick, South River, Plainfield and Scotch Plains.
The district is solidly Democratic. Holt won 69% of the vote in his 2012 re-election, and President Barack Obama carried two-thirds of the vote in the district in his re-election.
Holt becomes the third member of the Garden State's House delegation to announce their retirement, joining fellow Democrat Rob Andrews, and Republican Jon Runyan.
Holt is the son of former Sen. Rush D. Holt of West Virginia, who at 29 became the youngest person ever elected to the U.S. Senate. His mother was the first woman to serve as West Virginia secretary of state.
Holt made his own run for the Senate last year, losing in the primary to Newark Mayor Cory Booker in a special election to fill the term of the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Booker won the general election.
For those who don't closely follow politics, Holt may be best known for beating an IBM computer known as Watson on Jeopardy in 2011.
CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report