Their internal polls show it clearly: Jason Altmire is strongest in his part of the new 12th district, Beaver County and the Pittsburgh suburbs. Mark Critz is strongest in the Johnstown Somerset region. Now both campaigns are sending out recordings of their opponent admitting it.
From an audio recording of Critz courtesy of the Altmire campaign (listen here):
“If you have Republican friends that want to vote in the Democratic primary and help this seat stay here in Cambria/Somerset I need your help,” Critz said at a meeting of the Somerset County Democratic committee.
Altmire spokesman Richard Carbo asks, “How does Mark Critz justify this strategy when he regularly promotes himself as the more reliable democrat in the race? An equally troubling question is, what does Mark Critz mean by help this seat stay in Somerset/Cambria? How should voters in Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence and Westmoreland Counties interpret this remark by the Congressman from Johnstown?”
The deadline for re-registering has since passed.
The Critz camp was eager to respond in kind, with the video below, in which Altmire says, “I want you to send a message tonight: we are not going to allow this group from Johnstown to come in here to Beaver County and play that kind of gutter politics, and get away with it.”
They likewise note Altmire was dinged for that characterization in an editorial by the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.
“This is nothing but a desperate attack Congressman who votes with the Republicans 53 percent of the time and sided with the Tea Party for Republican Balanced Budget Amendment,” said Critz campaign manager Mike Mikus. “Jason Altmire’s campaign is faltering because Democrats are looking for someone who fights for jobs rather a job-killing Tea Partier.”
Though both Congressmen are playing to the home crowd, unfortunately for Critz that’s a smaller portion of the district. About two-thirds of the new 12th is currently represented by Altmire, while 28 percent is represented by Critz.
The Republican in the race is Allegheny County attorney Keith Rothfus.