The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

August 14, 2013

Critz enters race for lt. governor

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Mark Critz feels his personality is well suited for the role of lieutenant governor.

It’s an important job that can positively impact lives, but one with little fanfare.

So, over the past few months, the low-key Johnstown resident found himself gravitating toward running for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor position. But he was also considering trying to reclaim the state’s 12th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, which he held until January.

After evaluating both jobs and talking with supporters, Critz, a Democrat, finally reached a decision. On Wednesday, he unofficially announced his plan to enter next year’s race for lieutenant governor.

“I’ve really looked at that lieutenant governor seat. It seems like it really makes sense for, not only my personality, but also I think I can be a tremendous asset to the ticket,” Critz told “The Union Edge,” a pro-labor talk radio show.

A formal public announcement is expected to follow soon.

“It’s 100 percent; I just haven’t made it official yet,” Critz said.

Critz joined the House in May 2010 after winning a special election to fill the vacant position following the death of U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown. He then lost to Republican Keith Rothfus in last year’s general election. Between those races, the redistricting process tilted the district in favor of the GOP and eliminated some areas Critz knew well.

“When they redistricted me, they took away my whole southern tier of counties: Greene, Washington, Fayette, southern Westmoreland,” Critz said. “I grew up there. My dad’s from Fayette; my mom’s from Washington County. These are people that I’ve known for 40 years. (Being lieutenant governor) would give me an opportunity to re-engage with them and support them.”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at Dave_Sutor.