Tags: critz | wins | altmire

Critz Wins Pa. House Primary Over Altmire

Wednesday, 25 Apr 2012 11:39 AM


Rep. Mark Critz survived a primary challenge by fellow Democratic incumbent Jason Altmire in a redrawn Pennsylvania congressional district.

Critz led Altmire 52 percent to 48 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The two Democrats were forced into running against each other in yesterday’s primary because the state’s Republican-led legislature packed them into the same House district after Pennsylvania lost one of its 19 seats following the 2010 Census.

The race was the third of 11 match-ups between incumbents of the same party as a result of redistricting. Redrawn congressional districts in Ohio and Iowa will spur general election contests between incumbents of different parties.

First elected in 2006, Altmire, 44, hasn’t been a reliable vote for House Democratic leaders. A member of the self-described fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, Altmire voted against the healthcare overhaul, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda.

A former healthcare executive, Altmire said he opposed the overhaul — which became law in 2010 — because it wouldn’t improve care or reduce spiraling medical and hospital costs.

Critz, 50, was elected during a special 2010 election following the death of Rep. John Murtha, for whom he had worked as a congressional aide.

Critz won endorsements by organized labor, while Altmire seemingly benefited from redistricting with a majority of the voters in the new district already his constituents.

Critz’s campaign paid for ads to run 1,800 times on network television through April 23 at an estimated cost of $742,440, compared with 1,221 ads for Altmire at a cost of $605,870, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.

In another Pennsylvania contest, U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, a 10-term Democrat, lost a primary challenge to lawyer Matthew Cartwright. Holden’s district was changed by the Pennsylvania legislature to include the Democratic-dominated Scranton and Wilkes-Barre region.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Cartwright led Holden 57 percent to 43 percent. Holden, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, had won his previous races in a Republican-leaning district.

The non-partisan Campaign for Primary Accountability ran ads in the district attacking Holden, 55, as “too beholden” to Wall Street interests and called Cartwright as a “true-blue Democrat” who “will stand up for the middle class and stand up to big banks and Wall Street.” The League of Conservation Voters ran ads critical of Holden’s environmental record.

Center Forward, a group with ties to the Blue Dog Coalition, aired ads critical of Cartwright. Holden aired ads 1,234 times at a cost of $408,300, compared with Cartwright’s 848 ads at a cost of $329,890, CMAG data show.

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