Cook Calls PA-12 a Tossup

Mark Critz overcame the odds on Tuesday when he defeated fellow Rep. Jason Altmire. But he’s only half done. He now heads into a general election matchup with better-funded GOP challenger Keith Rothfus. The non-partisan Cook Political Report moved the district from “lean Dem” to “toss up” today.

The change mirrors PoliticsPA’s new congressional vulnerability ratings, published today, which named PA-12 the most likely seat to switch parties in 2012. Crit faces Allegheny County attorney Keith Rothfus in the general election. Rothfus finished the first quarter with about $385,000 on hand; Critz likely has around $100,000.

The National Republican Congressional Committee celebrated the news, emailing reporters and contending that President Obama’s polling struggles in southwest PA will translate into a tough race for Critz.

“With such a partisan record of supporting President Obama, it’s clear that Mark Critz is not the voice Southwestern Pennsylvania voters want in Congress,” argued NRCC Spokesman Nat Sillin. “This rating shift demonstrates the growing momentum against Obama’s anti-energy tax and spend agenda not only in Pennsylvania but also across the country. Mark Critz may have won his primary, but his chances of coming back to Congress grow dimmer by the day.”

Critz’s camp has been through tough races, even before Tuesday. He overcame a tough special election opponent in the race to replace the late Rep. Jack Murtha in 2010, and built on his win in the 2010 general election.

Spokesman Mark Critz dismissed Cook, and said Rothfus was too extreme for the district. He emphasized the same themes that helped his candidate prevail over Altmire.

“There are major differences in this race. Mark Critz opposes unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas, Keith Rothfus supports them. Mark Critz is fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare while Keith Rothfus supports the Republican budget that will end Medicare as we know it. That matters a lot more to the people of Western Pennsylvania than what the Beltway insiders about this race,” Mikus blasted.

“Mark Critz has proven that he can win tough races. The pundits are saying the same things today that they were saying in December about the primary. Don’t count Mark Critz out, He’s proven the pundits wrong time and time again.”

Critz bested Altmire by a narrow 51 to 49 margin.

Update: The Rothfus campaign fired back at Critz over the rating. Said spokesman Jon Raso:

“The Cook score acknowledges what we already knew about PA-12, that the people of Southwestern Pennsylvania are concerned about the direction this country is headed, and that Keith Rothfus is primed for victory.  Indeed, there are major differences in this race.  Unlike Mark Crtiz who received only a 57% pro-life rating form the National Right to Life, Keith Rothfus will be 100% pro-life,” he said.

“Mark Critz supports President Obama’s reckless fiscal agenda.  Mark Critz represents the failed policies that have resulted in the unemployment rate being above 8% for 38 months.”

April 27th, 2012 | Posted in Congress, Front Page Stories, Top Stories | 12 Comments

12 thoughts on “Cook Calls PA-12 a Tossup”

  1. Lourenco Vignone says:

    I wonder what some of you “conservative independents” think now, 10 days later, about those “new western PA” types that have lost it and are now more supportive of ‘radical Tea Party” types, after Obama has openly admitted what folks that pay attention to real politics have known for some time: that the Democratic Party is the homosexual party. Some of the western PA folks are simply reflecting what 36 state referendums have openly stated for anyone paying attention: when true liberal politics are brought into the open, even average “western PA”-type folks go the other way. The radical agenda of homosexual activism wants to indoctrinate young kids through the public education system; they want kids to be “taught” to tolerate what’s “normal” and have them even question their “gender identity”, invading the privacy of the parents and the family right under their noses(as is being done in MA & CA, among others), and folks are catching on. As much as people are concerned about putting bread on the table, what’s more important to them is that their relationships with their kids aren’t undermined by senseless and costly social policy like the normalization of homosexuality. The next 6 months, and especially November, will be very interesting indeed.

  2. Ron F. says:

    Thank You Mary Lou. Lets all encourage each other and get working on the fall campaign to keep the 12th district blue.

  3. Mary Lou says:

    I’ll smile, clap, waive, and give encouragement. YOU and the people from Johnstown can write the checks.

  4. Ron F. says:

    Altmire did alot of attacking himself so lets come together and move on to winning in November. Altmire himself said that he will be working hard to keep the 12th district blue.

  5. Mary Lou says:

    Ron F-

    Congratulations on your win. However, Let all the people who attacked Altmire write the checks. He will get nothing from me.

  6. Ron F. says:

    I will also write a check to Congressman Critz and help in anyway I can. I don’t live in his district myself but lets hear from other people willing to do the same. Get the check book out….

  7. Conservative Independent Voter says:

    It’s a shame that this will be a close race. In a reasonable, rational world Mark Critz would win by 20 points. However, we’re talking about the “new” Western PA where voters have started rejecting centrist Democrats (and Republicans) in favor of far right wing Tea Party types. The fact that the 2010 Altmire-Rothfus and Critz-Burns races were so close should be alarming to reasonable, independent-minded people everywhere. I no longer live in that area, but I’ll be writing a check to Mark Critz and offering to help however I can.

  8. ex critz constituent says:

    If the republicans ever look into what Critz has done to women, they will be asking to step down.
    http://www.citizensagainstmarkcritz.com shows how ignored a military rape and continued to victimize the victim. The war against women isn’t with the republicans, It’s with men like Critz who do nothing.

  9. Ron F. says:

    Never count out Congressman Mark Critz. You will never find a harder working Congressman anywhere. This is his 12th District.

  10. Richard James says:

    In October you will be changing this from “toss up to leaning Republican”. The area is changing and is exactly why Sen.Wozniak is not running for re-election.

  11. Harry says:

    What does that even mean?

  12. rdog says:

    YES, POTENTIAL FOR A TOUGH RACE! THIS IS WHY COUNTY EXECUTIVE RICH FITZGERALD NEEDS TO SUIT UP FAST!!!! UNLESS, HE WANTS TO SHARE ALLEGHENY COUNTY WITH SOME EXTREMIST REPUBLICANS WHO WANT TO UNDERMINE HIS ADMINISTRATION AND HIS RE-ELECTON!

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