The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 25, 2010

12th District races: Joyce Murtha endorses Critz; Galliker, Irey to head Burns campaign

Among Democrats pursuing the 12th Congressional District seat, Mark Critz would not be ranked first in name recognition.

But the Johnstown man has picked up an important political supporter: Joyce Murtha, wife of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, has offered her endorsement and will serve as Critz’s honorary campaign chairwoman.

In other news related to the race, Republican candidate Tim Burns of Washington County announced Wednesday that Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey and Louis Galliker, chairman and president of Johnstown’s Galliker Dairy Co., are jointly chairing his campaign.

Joyce Murtha said Critz, who had worked as the late congressman’s district director, is “the most qualified and knowledgeable candidate” in the race.

“Over the past decade, Jack grew to rely on Mark’s expertise and knowledge of the district, both on the governmental and political side of the job,” Joyce Murtha said in a statement released by Critz’s campaign.

“Mark has always displayed the utmost professionalism and concern for constituents, and it is for this reason that I am declaring my full endorsement of his candidacy,” she added.

Critz, 48, had worked for 12 years in Murtha’s local office. He spent the past three-plus years as district director.

He resigned from that post Monday and, several hours later, announced that he was joining a field of six other Democrats who have said they will pursue the seat Murtha held for 36 years.

Two of those Democrats are well-known politicians statewide: Johnstown native Mark Singel, a former state senator and lieutenant governor who now runs a Harrisburg lobbying firm, and Indiana resident Barbara Hafer, who had served as Pennsylvania’s treasurer and auditor general.

However, Critz is likely to benefit from the backing of Joyce Murtha, who has decided to not enter the race as a candidate but is well-known in the community.

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