NRCC Adds Rothfus to Incumbent Protection Program

Keith Rothfus
Keith Rothfus

Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny) will be getting an extra boost from the National Republican Congressional Committee in his bid for re-election next year.

The NRCC announced on Monday the addition of nine potentially vulnerable Republican congressman to its “Patriot Program”, a program to support incumbents who could face a tough re-election campaign next year. It’s primarily geared toward fundraising.

Among them is Keith Rothfus, a freshman representing Pa.’s 12th district. He’s raised $491K so far this year and has $380K on hand.

“These members have proven time and again that Republicans’ message of job creation through smaller government and fiscal responsibility resonates in districts across the country,” Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the NRCC, said in a press release. “I look forward to working with them as they run aggressive and organized campaigns focused on helping middle-class families.”

The announcement, in effect, is an acknowledgement by the NRCC that Rothfus could potentially get a difficult fight next year. That’s due in no small part to the fact that he narrowly defeated Democratic Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria) 52% to 48% last November. It was one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the nation.

Since his election, Rothfus has been among the most conservative members in the U.S. House.

Democrats say the development as evidence of Rothfus’ vulnerability next year and are connecting him with the House Republican conference in their efforts to recruit a top-tier challenger.

“Speaker Boehner says the goal of this broken Congress is not to get anything done, but instead to obstruct progress and solutions,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a press release. “National Republicans are admitting that Congressman Rothfus is in hot water with voters – all because he is part of this broken Republican Congress that puts the ultra wealthy and special interests ahead of the middle class.”

Rothfus already has one Democratic challenger: Erin McClelland, a medical professional whom the incumbent outraised last quarter 5-to-1. Most potential top tier Democratic candidates and donors, however, are awaiting a decision by Mark Critz, who is reportedly considering a rematch, before declaring their own intentions.

Rothfus isn’t the first Pa. Republican to be added to the Patriot Program.

The NRCC announced in April that Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) would get a boost. That announcement came shortly after his Democratic challenger, political novice Kevin Strouse, was named to the DCCC’s rival “Jumpstart” program.

Other new members following Q2 include: Dan Benishek (MI-01), Michael Grimm (NY-11), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Tom Latham (IA-03), Tom Reed (NY-23), Scott Rigell (VA-02) and Lee Terry (NE-02).

The DCCC has its own incumbent protection program called Frontline. No members of the Pa. delegation have been named to this list this cycle as all 5 of the state’s Democrats in Congress represent relatively safe seats. Critz was a Frontline member in 2012.

7 Responses

  1. Rothfus has sponsored on bill….. A bill to repeal part of Obamacare (surprise surprise). He has been doing an excellent job though of protecting business special interests and Grover Norquist with his votes.

  2. Don’t ignore the Candidacy of Larry Stiles. Western PA has a long history of electing GOP moderates like John Heinz and Tim Murphy. Rothfus is tied not only to Wall Street and Beltway Elites like Grover Norquist but also to Tom Corbett, who called electing Rothfus in 2012 one of his highest priorities. Rothfus recently voted to end NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND so that Corbett could dismantle public education with no federal interference. Rothfus and Corbett want to lead us in PA’s race to the bottom.

  3. This country isn’t going to be right until an end is put to the practice of regional US House races being funded and controlled by the 2 parties on a national level. It’s not about representing the interests of the people back home, it is about putting 218 puppets in Washington led either by idiot Boehner or ditzy Pelosi.

  4. The people in D.C. who are decision-making are “choosing wisely” [quoting Harrison Ford] when providing Patriot Program monies to these two fine men; both are scrupulously-honest and hard-working.

    I’ve known Mike for a decade and have vigorously tracked his activities [as he knows!], and he ALWAYS can explain his viewpoints when challenged, often by quoting the Constitution; for example, he opposed a GOP-posture regarding the Boeing labor situation because of philosophical concerns addressing federal government empowerment that might serve as an unfortunate precedent [and he put this in-writing to the administration…later receiving a cogent reply].

    Keith may not remember, but he took my photo with Charles Krauthammer @ the PA Leadership Conference a few years ago; he was humble beyond humble while chatting in line, hardly projecting the mien of a self-centered politician and, again, tracking his voting-record has been a pleasure.

    The provision of this $-support notwithstanding, the D’s should perhaps look elsewhere for a vulnerable-R, and the reticence of Critz may actually be serving as a barometer reflecting this truism.

  5. Critz needs to stop freezing this race. Stop being wishy-washy and indecisive.


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