Michael James Pappas

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Michael James Pappas
Mike Pappas.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 1999
Preceded byDick Zimmer
Succeeded byRush Holt
Personal details
Born (1960-12-29) December 29, 1960 (age 58)
New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyRepublican

Michael James Pappas (born December 29, 1960 in New Brunswick, New Jersey) is a former Republican Congressman and a singer from New Jersey.


Pappas was born in 1960 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Alma Preparatory School in Zarephath, New Jersey, and attended Seton Hall University. He got into politics in the early 1980s, becoming a member of the Franklin Township township council where he served from 1982-87.

He was Mayor of Franklin Township, New Jersey for two years. He later would be elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders for Somerset County, and served from 1984 to 1996, alongside fellow Freeholder Christine Todd Whitman during portions of that period.

In 1996, Pappas won an election to replace Dick Zimmer in the 12th Congressional District in New Jersey (Zimmer ran for the U.S. Senate that year), beating Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchio. Unlike most New Jersey Republicans, Pappas was a staunch conservative. His congressional service included pushing for a stronger national defense, the elimination of the capital gains tax, advocacy for small business, securing the release of the battleship USS New Jersey to the state of New Jersey as a museum, and resurrecting the controversial "Star Wars" national missile defense.

He was a strong supporter of the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and his infamous singing of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Kenneth Starr" on the House floor[1] contributed to his defeat by Rush Holt in 1998.[2][3]

In 2000, Pappas unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for his old congressional seat, losing a highly contentious primary to the more moderate Zimmer by 62 to 38% margin. Holt narrowly defeated Zimmer in the general election to retain his seat. During the Bush Administration, Pappas worked for the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C.

In June 2016, Pappas was hired as the Borough Administrator of High Bridge, New Jersey.[4]

Electoral history[edit]

12th District Republican House Primary, 1996[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Pappas 11,069 38.1
Republican John Bennett 9,894 34.0
Republican Leonard Lance 7,630 26.2
Republican Luis De Agustin 481 1.7
Total votes 29,074 100.0
12th District House general election, 1996[6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Mike Pappas 135,811 50.4
Democratic David M. Del Vecchio 125,594 46.7
Independent Virginia A. Flynn 3,955 1.5
Independent Joseph M. Mercurio 2,650 1.0
Independent Philip G. Cenicola 1,211 0.4
Total votes 269,221 100.0
12th District House general election, 1998[6][7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Rush Holt 92,528 50.1
Republican Michael Pappas 87,221 47.2
Libertarian Joseph A. Siano 2,125 1.2
Green Madelyn R. Hoffman 1,409 0.8
Reform Beverly Kidder 749 0.4
Natural Law Mary Jo Christian 578 0.3
Total votes 184,610 100.0
12th District Republican House Primary, 2000[8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dick Zimmer 19,084 62.0
Republican Mike Pappas 11,692 38.0
Total votes 30,776 100.0


  1. ^ Beiler, David. "Twinkle, twinkle Kenneth Starr: how physicist Rush Holt used the Clinton scandal to oust a Republican congressman - includes related article on Rush Holt Sr", Campaigns & Elections, May 1999. Accessed August 6, 2007. "On the occasion of Clinton special prosecutor Ken Starr's 52nd birthday, Pappas decided to commemorate the event in song, on the House floor. Following the melody of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," Pappas crooned (or more accurately, croaked):"
  2. ^ http://www.salon.com/2000/04/13/newjersey/
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/05/nyregion/1998-elections-region-new-jersey-upset-traced-part-partisan-song.html
  4. ^ Staff. "Former Congressman Mike Pappas named new High Bridge administrator", Hunterdon Review, June 23, 2016; accessed August 31, 2016. "The borough has hired Michael Pappas as part-time administrator, replacing the recently exited John Gregory."
  5. ^ "Official List, Primary Election Returns for the Office of U.S. House of Representatives for Election Held June 4, 1996" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. July 2, 1996. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  7. ^ "Official List, 1998 Election Candidates for House of Representatives" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. August 31, 1998. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Official List, Candidate Returns for House of Representatives for June 2000 Primary Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. April 17, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2016.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dick Zimmer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Rush Holt