Critz and Rothfus Will Compete in New 12th Congressional District
Incumbent Jason Altmire concedes after Critz captures the seat in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Incumbent Rep. Mark Critz has won the Democratic nomination in a close primary that pitted him against incumbent Rep. Jason Altmire for the new 12th Legislative District, according to unofficial results.
Altmire, 44, of McCandless, whose 4th District includes Sewickley, and Critz, 50, of Johnstown, Cambria County, were locked in a tight race to the finish for the chance to represent much of Western Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As of 10:50 p.m., Critz had received 29,643 votes to 25,206 cast for Altmire by voters in the sprawling district.
"Congratulations to my colleague Congressman Mark Critz on his hard-fought and well-deserved victory in the primary. He has my full support as his campaign moves on to the fall," Altmire said in a statement.
"I want to thank my constituents who supported me by an overwhelming margin in the portion of the new 12th District that I have represented. It is gratifying to know that democratic voters in my current district continue to support me by such a large margin," Altmire said.
Earlier in the day, Altmire stopped by the McCandless Town Hall in McCandless Township before traveling Tuesday afternoon to Washington, D.C. to vote with other members of the House of Representatives.
He acknowledged the close race while speaking with reporters, saying that "turnout is going to be the key."
"I think the voters are going to have the ability to make their choice. I think it's going to be a close race," Altmire predicted.
Critz now will face a Republican challenger, lawyer Keith Rothfus of Edgeworth, in the November general election. Rothfus ran unchallenged in the primary and received 38,289 total votes, according to unofficial election results.
Altmire was elected in 2006 and is serving his third term. Critz won a special election in 2010 to replace the late Rep. John Murtha after working as a top aide to the longtime congressman from Johnstown.
“You have no idea how overwhelming this is to me,” Critz told a ballroom packed with cheering supporters at a Johnstown hotel, according to the Johnstown-based Tribune-Democrat newspaper.
Critz, who had been supported by former President Bill Clinton and labor organizations, also turned to Twitter Tuesday night night to thank his backers, saying in one tweet: "Thank you, Steelworkers, SEIU, AFL-CIO and all of labor! I couldn't have done it without you."
During his three terms in Congress, Altmire said he has cast more than 4,600 consecutive votes and has never missed a vote since 2007.
"As I finish the remainder of my term, it continues to be my honor to serve the people of the 4th Congressional District of Pennsylvania," Altmire said.
Check back with Patch for updates.