By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
“Turzai is going to run for Congress against the winner of the Altmire/Critz primary,” said the source.
Another campaign source confirmed Turzai is definitively running, and is likely to remain as Leader while campaigning.
He’s already telling leadership in Harrisburg of his plans, reported Marc Levy of the Associated Press.
“Mike Turzai, has told top Republican Party officials this week that he plans to run for a U.S. House seat in southwestern Pennsylvania, two party activists said Friday. Turzai is informing key people of his decision before he makes a public announcement,” Levy wrote.
Turzai is a top tier recruit for Republicans, who drew the map with the idea of a GOP pickup specifically in mind. PoliticsPA ranked the district most likely in the state for a party turnover.
Turzai would face the winner of the Democratic primary between Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, and will face 2010 candidate Keith Rothfus in the Republican primary.
Democrats – and Republicans dissatisfied with their districts – accused Republicans in Harrisburg of drawing a map that favors a Turzai candidacy. Some incumbents like Reps. Tim Murphy and Bill Shuster wanted to shore up their own districts by adding Democrats to the new 12th. However, the final version of the map has a 12th district that is almost a pure tossup, if not marginally Republican.
Rep. Altmire released the following statement:
“The entry of Majority Leader Mike Turzai, of the North Hills in Allegheny County, into the race for the new 12th Congressional District seat is further evidence of why the Democratic primary is so important. Democrats need to nominate the candidate who can run the strongest campaign in the general election against Rep. Turzai, in the Republican-leaning district that he drew for himself.”
Rep. Critz released the following statement:
“This announcement comes as no surprise since Harrisburg insider Mike Turzai deliberately drew the new 12th Congressional District map, a map that Jason Altmire helped strong-arm support for, so that he could run for this seat,” said Critz spokesperson Mike Mikus. “It is unfortunate that Turzai and Altmire manipulated the process and put their own personal political gain ahead of the interest of Pennsylvania voters.”
GOP Candidate Keith Rothfus commented:
“I look forward to representing the people of the new twelfth congressional district in 2013 and bringing my nearly 20 years of private sector experience to the broken DC system. I have already raised $250,000 for my campaign and have a fully engaged grassroots network, along with an army of volunteers ready to circulate petitions. ”
“Western Pennsylvanian voters will strongly reject career politician Mike Turzai’s attempt to join Washington Republicans’ extreme agenda of ending Medicare while protecting tax breaks for billionaires and Big Oil,” said Josh Schwerin of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Mike Turzai’s backroom dealing can’t hide his extreme anti-middle class agenda after he voted for more crowded classrooms, higher tuition costs, property taxes hikes and more layoffs.”