A flurry of endorsements, including two from a pair of well-known politicians, came in the 12th Congressional District race during the past few days.
Former President Bill Clinton gave his backing to fellow Democrat U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, during a rally at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 712 union hall in Beaver on Thursday. Then, on Friday, Critz’s opponent, Republican Keith Rothfus, received the public support of 9th district U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, inside Pittsburgh’s Omni William Penn Hotel.
“I want to thank Congressman Shuster for his endorsement of my campaign,” said Rothfus, an Allegheny County lawyer. “I am absolutely dedicated to providing the same type of leadership he has provided to the people of southwestern Pennsylvania. I look forward to joining him in Washington as we work together to push back against President (Barack) Obama’s agenda, stop the war on coal, strengthen the middle class, and bring the jobs back to Pennsylvania we need and deserve.”
Part of Somerset County that is currently in the 9th will switch to the redrawn 12th after the general election.
“Keith Rothfus has been working with large and small businesses for over 20 years, helping them create jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Shuster, who is running against Democrat Karen Ramsburg and write-in candidate Paul Ritchey. “Keith Rothfus shares the same conservative values as the people of Somerset County, and I strongly endorse him as the candidate for the 12th Congressional District”
Rothfus also recently received official support from Gun Owners of America. Firearm Owners Against Crime plans to formally announce its backing of the Republican challenger some time next week.
“We are proud to endorse Keith Rothfus for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District,” said Tim Macy, vice chairman of GOA. “The 2nd Amendment is being destroyed by compromisers in Washington. Keith Rothfus is the candidate in this race who will stand firmly in the defense, and in support of our right to keep and bear arms.”
On Critz’s side, Clinton spoke positively about the work the local congressman has done since joining the House in 2010.
“Mark Critz wakes up every day and he doesn’t think about what is the partisan way I can get this done to make somebody look bad,” said the former president. “He’s just trying to help the people of this district. That’s what we need more of in America. We got enough of that other stuff in Washington; we don’t need any more of that.”
Earlier in the week, Critz received an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans.
He additionally earned a Friend of Farm Bureau award from the American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors, although that recognition was not a formal endorsement.
“This was a great week for Mark,” said Mike Mikus, Critz’s campaign manager. “Whether it is standing up for seniors, farmers or workers, people realize that Mark Critz is willing to put partisanship aside to grow our economy and protect Social Security and Medicare. President Bill Clinton’s endorsement shows that even he recognizes that Mark is fighting to put our region and country back on the right track.”
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