Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria) said Tuesday that he will be campaigning in the 12th district in lieu of attending the Democratic National Convention this September in North Carolina.
In a report today by the Tribune-Review, Critz’s campaign team said the Congressman was steering clear of the President:
“Since I was elected, my focus has been on creating jobs for people here, rather than focusing on the agendas of the political parties in Washington,” Johnstown’s Critz said.
His campaign spokesman, Mike Mikus, said their internal polling shows the president is down double digits to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the redrawn, six-county congressional district where Critz won a close victory against U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire of McCandless in the April primary. He will go against Republican Keith Rothfus, an Edgeworth attorney, in the general election.
That makes the decision to avoid the convention “pretty easy,” Mikus said. Moreover, he said, “it is fair to say” that Critz will not ask the president to campaign with him.
Critz has protested some of Obama’s policies, specifically his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and coal regulations. He’s also pro-life and pro-gun. At the same time Rothfus has sought to tie the two together, noting that Critz has voted 20 times against efforts to weaken or repeal Obamacare.
Jon Raso, Rothfus’s Campaign Manager, said that Critz’s latest decision represents a failed attempt at distancing himself from Obama’s record.
“Congressman Critz, like any typical politician, has decided not to attend the DNC only after ‘internal polling’ told him not to,” Raso said.
“He can run from President Obama all he wants but he can’t run from his record. This is just the latest ploy in Congressman Critz’s attempt to distance himself from the President in desperation of saving his political career.”
Critz’s decision to campaign makes the most sense politically – Obama lost the 12th district 54 to 45 percent in 2008, despite carrying PA by 10 points. This cycle, it’s expected to be one of the most competitive House races in the country. Rothfus is in line for over $1 million in ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Many PA Dems, including Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) have already announced their intentions of attending the DNC.