While most of the focus on the race for the 12th congressional district has been on the Democratic primary between incumbents Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, Republicans have been trying to find a top-tier candidate to face the winner in November’s general election.
That candidate appears to be Allegheny County attorney Keith Rothfus, who narrowly lost to Altmire in 2010. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) announced on Tuesday that Rothfus has been upgraded to “Contender” in their “Young Guns” program, designed to help Republican candidates build a strong campaign.
Sen. Pat Toomey endorsed Rothfus last month.
“We are looking forward to working with Keith Rothfus, who has already proven himself by meeting rigorous benchmarks in the ‘Young Guns’ program that will position his campaign for victory,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) in a statement. “Keith Rothfus’ dedication and experience enables him to advocate effectively for pro-growth policies and fight the failed status quo in Washington. This will stand in stark contrast to the Obama-Pelosi record of spending, borrowing and taxing that Pennsylvania families and small businesses know has failed.”
Rothfus appears to be the last man standing for Republicans hoping to win the newly redrawn 12th district. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai decided against a run when it looked like he would be a front runner the Republican nomination. In December, State Rep. Jim Christiana also took a pass.
Rothfus is one of 11 candidates to reach “Contender” status on the way to becoming a “Young Gun,” which would provide national GOP attention and support for his campaign. In 2010, Rothfus was part of the program as well; that year, 62 out of the 90 candidates the NRCC designated as Young Guns won election.