The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 7, 2012

Critz ousted by Republican foe

Rothfus wins seat in redrawn 12th district

JOHNSTOWN — This time around, not even strong support in Cambria County could propel Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, to a victory in a U.S. House of Representatives race.

The incumbent unofficially received 29,333 votes in his home county, compared with 17,331 for his opponent in the 12th Congressional District, Republican Keith Rothfus, according to results provided by the Pennsylvania Department of State. But the big local advantage was not enough for Critz to retain his seat on Tuesday. Rothfus won with approximately 51 percent. He received more than 160,000 votes.

“It just wasn’t enough,” said Critz. “We did pretty close to our modeling, but we underperformed in a couple places. That was the difference.”

Critz served in the House since May 2010, when he won a special election to replace Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, who died while in office.

Earlier this year, Critz collected 91 percent of the vote in Cambria County during his incumbent-versus-incumbent primary against Rep. Jason Altmire. In 2010, Critz won a special election (57.3 percent support in Cambria County), primary (84.5) and general (55.8).

Rothfus will replace Critz as the 12th district’s congressman in January. It will be the first time there will not be a Cambria County resident in the House since the beginning of 1935.

“I think now the onus is on us to make sure that our new member of Congress takes care of our area and keeps after us and make sure that he’s looking out for our best interest,” said Critz.

Rothfus, an attorney, built an edge of more than 14,000 votes in his home region of Allegheny County. Locally, he topped Critz by a little less than 2,000 votes in Somerset County.

Rothfus could not immediately be reached for comment following his victory.

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