It’s here, on the ground, with pre-made lists of union members and other voters, that organized labor boasts its edge. And they’re going all out for Mark Critz.
Critz has enjoyed most of the momentum in recent days in his battle with fellow Rep. Jason Altmire. It started with an endorsement from Bill Clinton, followed by national Democrats’ unkind words about Altmire’s TV ads, and the campaign conversation turning on Altmire’s support for a Balanced Budget Amendment. A poll this week showed the race closing: Altmire 43, Critz 39.
Altmire isn’t sitting on his hands. His campaign is spending the next 96 hours calling the people who’ve supported him in the past – 6 years of data and feedback that includes most of the Democrats in the district. They’re hosting events at campaign offices from Beaver County to Westmoreland.
And he doesn’t need to gain ground, he just needs to avoid losing too much of it. Altmire started out with about 66 percent of the newly drawn 12th district. He can hypothetically give up 22 percent of his home turf, and gain zero votes in the new areas (Critz has 28 percent of the new district), and Altmire still wins.
That’s where labor comes in. They’re trying to cut the deficit. Critz has the support of every major union in the district. All those that have endorsed in the primary at all have backed him, except two locals.
What does it mean from a logistical standpoint? It means bodies on the ground. If the unions live up to their promises, tens of thousands of phone calls and thousands of door knocks from now until 8pm Tuesday when polls close. Not to mention, they’ll be handing out Critz literature
United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard met with Critz volunteers at the organization’s Pittsburgh headquarters to jazz them up for door-knocking and phone calls.
On top of the unions, Critz also has the continued support of Bowzer, who will remain in PA-12 through primary day. The Republican candidate is Allegheny County attorney Keith Rothfus.