Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, a handful of state congressmen and former rival Rep. Jason Altmire (D-McCandless) all plan to turn out for Rep. Mark Critz (D-Johnstown) at a June 4 fundraiser in Pittsburgh.
With more than 40 hosts listed for the event (including big-name Democratic party, labor and business leaders) it seems that Critz is looking to catch up to Keith Rothfus in a big way.
Tickets to the event, which will take place at Le Mont Restaurant in Mt. Washington, cost between $250 and $2,500.
Campaign spokesman Mike Mikus said the fundraising effort is just another way of building upon Critz’ primary success.
“Our fundraising efforts have been strong. We’ve been working every day, Mark has been working every day.”
Fratricidal races were the norm this primary season, with many fellow-party incumbents facing off in newly redrawn districts; but with all of those races decided many, including those from PA-12, have put the past behind them in order to play catch-up for the general election.
Despite building momentum from the win, Rothfus entered the race with not only more cash on hand than Critz, whose resources were depleted after the battle with Altmire, but high name recognition in the new district.
In fact, voters nearly handed Rothfus a victory over Altmire in 2010, where he came less than 5,000 votes (or 2 percentage points) shy of ousting the McCandless Democrat in the 4th district race.
But looking forward, Critz is counting on organized labor for help. That, along with a heavy repeat turnout in his home Cambria and Somerset counties, could help him win.
Mikus added that despite what look like weaknesses on paper, the campaign isn’t too worried about Rothfus’ name recognition or fundraising.
“We feel good. We believe, in the end, voters are gonna look at Mark as someone who is fighting to create jobs for Western Pennsylvania and Keith Rothfus is an extremist who supports a Republican budget that would turn Medicare into a voucher system. And he supports unfair trade deals that shift jobs to foreign countries like China and India.”
Rothfus Campaign Manager Jon Raso said his candidate, “will be spending time with working families in his district on how best to help them work, live and raise a family.
“We’re not going to comment on Congressman Critz hobnobbing with Democrat insiders and union elites that support President Obama.”