By Tara Jerry, Contributing Writer
In the intensifying Democratic primary race for the new 12th congressional district, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) endorsed Rep. Mark Critz, his campaign announced Thursday.
Rep. Critz is battling Rep. Jason Altmire in the upcoming primary after their districts were combined following redistricting last year. The 12th district includes the two counties – Beaver and Westmoreland – with the highest enrollment in Medicare Advantage in the nation.
“Protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare has been a top priority for me in Congress and this endorsement demonstrates that I am the only candidate in this race who is fully committed to protecting these benefits for seniors and future generations,” Critz said in a statement. “I will continue to stand up to those in Congress who would destroy these vital programs through risky schemes like privatization and gimmicky constitutional amendments.”
The statement released by the Critz campaign also notes that he “opposed the Republican Balanced Budget Amendment that would have led to massive cuts in Social Security and Medicare” while his opponent, Rep. Altmire, voted for the amendment.
These endorsements are a major boost for the Critz campaign following the recent release of fourth quarter fundraising numbers for 2011: Rep. Altmire reported $386,796 more cash on hand at the end of the year than Rep. Critz. In addition, internal polling a few weeks ago from the Altmire campaign showed a 16-point advantage over Rep. Critz.