The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 27, 2013

Is Rothfus vulnerable to Dems?

JOHNSTOWN — The National Republican Congressional Committee is going to provide U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, some extra help in his effort to retain Pennsylvania’s 12th district seat in 2014.

Recently, the NRCC added the freshman to its Patriot Program, which provides fundraising, organizational and communication assistance to vulnerable incumbents. He is one of 20 candidates on the list.

“These members have proven time and again that Republicans’ message of job creation through smaller government and fiscal responsibility resonates in districts across the country,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the NRCC, in a statement.

“I look forward to working with them as they run aggressive and organized campaigns focused on helping middle-class families.”

Rothfus joined the House of Representatives after defeating then-incumbent Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, by 3.5 percentage points during the same 2012 election cycle when the Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, topped President Barack Obama by 17 points in the district.

So far, only two challengers have officially declared candidacies, Democrat Erin McClelland and Republican Larry Stiles. Critz, however, is considering running for the seat again.

Also, if Rothfus reaches the general election, he will likely be on a Republican ticket with Gov. Tom Corbett, whose approval ratings have been low for several months.

Still, G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs, does not think Rothfus should be considered markedly vulnerable at this time.

“I don’t have a sense yet that there’s a reason for this,” said Madonna.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee responded to the local representative’s inclusion in the Patriot Program with a statement provided by spokeswoman Emily Bittner: “There’s no daylight between Congressman Keith Rothfus and his dysfunctional Republican leadership – so now national Republicans are coming in to save Congressman Rothfus’ sinking ship with the voters of Pennsylvania.”

Rothfus had $382,912 cash on hand at the time of his

June 30 filing with the Federal Election Commission.

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