Mark Critz will skip a rematch with Keith Rothfus and run for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, the former Congressman told a radio host Wednesday.
“It’s 100 percent. I just haven’t made it official yet,” Critz told the Union Edge, a pro-union radio show based in Pittsburgh.
His remark was reported by the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.
Update: Here’s the audio.
Critz served in Congress for 3 years beginning in 2010, when he won a highly contest special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Cambria). He won re-election that fall, and a primary versus Jason Altmire in 2012. He narrowly lost the 2012 general election to Republican Keith Rothfus.
For months, insiders have speculated as to whether Critz would seek a rematch with Rothfus, run for LG, or bide his time until 2016. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other party power brokers had hoped to see him challenge Rothfus.
Critz will face a large and changing field of opponents in the Democratic primary. Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski was the first to announced, followed by Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith and then Harrisburg city official Brenda Alton.
State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila), State Reps. John Galloway (D-Bucks) and Brandon Neuman (D-Washington), and Northampton County DA John Morganelli, have each floated a bid.
Critz’s neighbor, state Sen. John Wozniak (D-Cambria) has also floated a bid. It’s not clear if he will remain in contention.
Koplinski’s campaign blasted Critz in a statement, comparing him to Gov. Tom Corbett:
“We welcome Mark Critz to the race, his views and ideas will create the sort of contrast we Democrats need.”
“Democrats will have the choice to choose between a true unwavering progressive and a candidate who has received a 0% from Planned Parenthood, a 0% from the Human Rights Campaign, an 8% from the Sierra Club, had the 4th worst lifetime record among Democrats according to the League of Conservation Voters, was among Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition’s top 10 highest rated Democrats and received an A grade from the NRA. The overwhelming response Brad has heard in over 50 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties shows that Pennsylvania needs a complete departure from the conservative Corbett Administration policies, not an extension.”