Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PA 12th Congressional District - Game On for Keith Rothfus!

Last night, we conservatives & libertarians got to enjoy some Democrat on Democrat, liberal on liberal carnage as current Representatives Jason Altmire (PA-4) and Mark Critz (PA-12) found out which one of them would be the "incumbent" for the new PA 12th District.

I'm a constituent in old PA-4 and will be in PA-12. Compared with the wacky, gerrymandered map of the existing PA-12, the new district lines almost look sensible, until one considers the demographics of the region that swipes from the Ohio border all the way to Johnstown and beyond.

Well, Mr. Critz defeated Mr. Altmire last night, 51.4 percent to 49.2. Critz absolutely obliterated Altmire in his home base of Cambria County 13,261 votes to 1,275 - and that was more than enough to overcome Altmire's convincing margins in Allegheny (12,931 vs. 5,811) and Beaver (11,216 vs. 4,945) counties. Critz had the ground game benefit of getting the backing of labor unions. Mr. Altmire (probably fairly and in-line with the constituents by and large of the 4th District) was accused of several "anti-labor" votes, including what they claimed was a promise to vote for Obamacare, which Altmire did ultimately vote against. I'd say that just enough labor support was siphoned off from Altmire in Allegheny and Beaver to get Critz the win.

So, now it's on to the general election. Facing Critz is Allegheny County conservative, cancer survivor, attorney, former Department of Homeland Security official Keith Rothfus. Mr. Rothfus narrowly lost to Mr. Altmire as the 4th District challenger in 2010. This would be a sweet seat to win. He ran unopposed in the primary to be the Republican candidate for the 12th District.

Last weekend, I attended BlogConCLT. One of the points made to bloggers large and small there was that while everybody would like to write about national races and politics, there is nowhere near enough effort spent by the blogosphere on local and state politics. I heard the call, and I'm going to make it a point to blog regularly about this race.

Obviously, I'm a Keith Rothfus supporter. I'm going to have future posts talking about his record and policy positions - and I hope to get an interview or two with the candidate himself. (Full disclosure: I will also be a Rothfus campaign volunteer and will be donating to the campaign)

One of the keys to a Rothfus victory is we are going to have to hang the legacy of pork-barrel projects and corruption of Mr. Critz's late boss and mentor - John P. Murtha - around his neck. Thanks to guidance and examples from BlogCon, I've learned a lot about opposition research, and I can assure you Their Finest Hour (and some other things I have in mind) will be determinedly digging into Mr. Critz and his connections to the Murtha legacy and the entrenched Democrat labor/business/politics hydra of Western Pennsylvania. We're going to war on this one, and we're going to get Keith Rothfus in Congress.

Three observations from last night's results, keeping in mind that Rothfus was unopposed and that there also isn't any historical data readily available to draw on as it's a new district:

1) In Allegheny County (PA-12 is the most conservative portion of the county) the combined vote for Altmire/Critz was 18,472. Rothfus received 18,089. That's good turnout for an unopposed race, and Rothfus did defeat Altmire in the county in 2010.

2) In Somerset County - one would think this would be solid Critz country based on geography - Altmire/Critz received 4,860 net votes and Rothfus 4,660; just 200 less!

3) Tom Smith won the primary to be the US Senate candidate against Bob Casey, Jr. Now, I am dubious about the prospects of Smith knocking Casey off (I'd be dubious regardless of who the candidate wound up being) but Mr. Smith is a coal guy. He's popular with his workers and the union locals and he's local to the 12th District, even if he doesn't live in it. He may not carry the state, but conservative enthusiasm in southwestern PA should spill into Rothfus' camp.

It's going to be an exciting six months ahead, that's for sure!

UPDATE 4/26 0933: Timothy McNulty at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has many of the same conclusions.


  1. Thank you for the coverage of this race. Just recently, I moved into PA-4/PA-12 from out of state, and have been somewhat at a loss finding information on the primary and Congressional race.

    I'm encouraged by last night's results, and looking forward to replacing Jason Altmire. Incredibly, having lived in four other states, this is the first time I've ever had a D Congressman. I'm hoping this is just temporary.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Sam, and I hope you keep coming back. If you're on Twitter, please follow me - it's the easiest way to find out when I've got a new post up.

    Welcome to the area, and I'm looking forward to interacting with you further!

  3. D Reed2:15 PM

    I agree. Keith is a stand up guy who is a true conservative. I volunteered last time and am looking forward to doing the same this election season.

  4. Again, thanks for visiting. I'm planning on recruiting some local Western PA "Breitbarts" for a cooperative blogging effort through the election and beyond. Drop me an email or a tweet if you're interested!



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