Up 8 points at 10:15 p.m., the campaign for U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, announced tonight that Democratic foe Jason Altmire has called to concede the primary tonight.
Mr. Critz used his deep home base support and the awakened might of organized labor to win his fratricidal bout with fellow Democrat Jason Altmire, picking up his latest latest narrow victory in an increasingly conservative congressional district. He piled bigger margins in Cambria and Somerset counties than Altmire was able to do in his Allegheny/Beaver home base.
Mr. Critz now faces Mr. Altmire’s 2010 Republican foe Keith Rothfus in the 12th District race. He will have to refill a warchest weakened by his battle with Mr. Altmire, a battle that was forced by Republican mapmakers who put the incumbents in the same seat during decennial redistricting.
Mr. Altmire is a former UPMC lobbyist and his 2010 vote against President Obama’s health care reform package may have been his undoing. Mr. Critz was not in Congress at the time of the health care vote. although he said that he would have opposed ti as well. But Mr. Altmire earned the enmity of labor leaders over the issue as they claimed he lied to them over whether he would support the final comprimise. In retaliation, the union hierarchy went all out to beat the former UPMC executive, with almost 20 union bodies pledging get-out-the-vote efforts on Mr. Critz’s behalf.
Here’s Altmire’s statement:
WASHINGTON, DC – Congratulations to my colleague Congressman Mark Critz on his hard-fought and well-deserved victory in the primary. He has my full support as his campaign moves on to the fall.
I want to thank my constituents who supported me by an overwhelming margin in the portion of the new 12th District that I have represented. It is gratifying to know that democratic voters in my current district continue to support me by such a large margin.
Congratulations also to the democrats who reside in Mark’s portion of the new 12th District, especially those in Cambria County, who turned out to vote in astounding numbers to support their candidate. It was that turnout that won the election, and I have no doubt that the remainder of the district will have the same level of support for Congressman Critz as they get to know him.
As I finish the remainder of my term, it continues to be my honor to serve the people of the 4th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.