Just nine months after leaving Congressional office, former 12th-district Democratic Rep. Mark Critz has filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State to officially begin his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor.
Critz, who said he was running because of the lack of job creation and education funding under Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration, announced his candidacy in a press release distributed by Nora Alden this morning.
Alden, a former Onorato for Governor finance staffer, is also an alumna of Critz’s alma mater — Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a school under the umbrella of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
The release criticized Corbett’s cuts to education, which were the target of remarks by President Barack Obama on his recent visit to Scranton. In the 2011-2012 budget, Corbett proposed reducing funding for state-run and state-related colleges, among them IUP and the rest of the PASSHE schools, by 50%.
Critz said in the release that the failure to create jobs and attempts to cut education under Corbett have forced local school districts to layoff teachers, cut back on programs and increase class sizes and taxes.
“I am running for Lieutenant Governor because I can no longer sit back and watch Tom Corbett and his allies continue to enact policies that have stifled job growth and cut $1 billion from our public schools,” Critz said. “We need leaders in Harrisburg who are committed to creating good paying jobs that grow the middle class and will fight to fully fund our schools so that every child has the skills they need to succeed.”
In 2010, Critz won a special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha. In November of that year, Critz also won the general election despite immense spending on the opposition’s side. Critz lost reelection in 2012, however, to Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus by just under 12,000 votes.
Critz believes his history of beating what he calls the “Republican machine” will assist him in defeating the Republican opposition for the state house in 2014.
“I have been very fortunate to have a great group of friends and supporters who have helped me build a strong base throughout the western Pennsylvania counties where Democrats have underperformed in recent elections. I know how to run and win in tough elections and I want to bring that experience and my solid base of support to the Democratic ticket so that we can win in the fall,” he said.
The official announcement comes just under a month after Critz announced his intent to run on a radio show.
This will be Crtiz’s first attempt at running for statewide office, and he will face a wide field of Democratic opponent’s in May’s primary. Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith and Harrisburg city official Brenda Alton have all announced their candidacy.