You knew this post was coming.
I’ve never denied or been ashamed of my admiration for Congressman Altmire, and I’m really sad that our region will lose him at the end of the year. He’s done a great job voting for the district as a whole, and as a Democrat, I recognize that I probably won’t be represented by another Democrat in Congress in the next 10 years (if not longer).
There are currently about 5,000 more Democrats in the new PA-12 than in the old PA-4. There are fewer Democrats, though, in the new PA-12 than the old PA-12. So, for Critz, who boasted about being able to win in hard scenarios, this should have been a shoe-in for Critz, right?
Mark was an unknown to the Altmire voters in the new parts of PA-12 district. I can’t figure out if he thought he would win them regardless of what he did or if he thought they were a lost cause. If Critz thought they would automatically go with him, Critz and his team didn’t review voting trends in the area. If they thought they couldn’t win the Altmire voters, I’m wondering why he even ran in the primary considering the landscape of the new district.
It’s been interesting to me to read the post-Election Day fall out regarding this race. The Post-Gazette even said last week that that no Democrat could have won. The Trib has been fairly quiet. Twitter has been buzzing about how much money the Republicans spent trying to win it.
Congressman Altmire lost Allegheny County by fewer than 500 votes in 2010 to Keith Rothfus. Mark Critz lost by 15,000 in Allegheny County. Altmire won Beaver County by 9,000 votes in 2010. Mark Critz won by 1,000 in Beaver County. Right there, Altmire is 23,500 votes ahead of Mark Critz’s performance last week.
In 2008, Congressman Altmire won by 12% when Obama lost Altmire's congressional district by 11%.
In every plausible scenario involving Beaver and Allegheny counties, Altmire would have beaten Rothfus in 2012. In 2010 Altmire beat Rothfus when ever other Republican running in Altmire's congressional district won the district by double digits. Altmire ran ahead of every Democrat in the 2010 election cycle in his district, so to even insinuate that people don’t split their tickets is ludicrous. They did in 2006, 2008, and 2010 for Altmire, and there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t have this year – especially considering that this wasn’t the Democratic wipe out year it was in 2010.
Money isn’t spent to help challengers who can’t beat their opponents.
In a year when Republicans picked up 70+ seats in the House, there’s a reason that outside money against Altmire was minimal – they couldn’t beat him. When Critz won the primary, the Republicans saw the pickup opportunity and targeted the seat knowing they could win. Don’t blame the outside money – blame the liberal Democrats and unions who supported Critz in the primary.
I really hope that the liberal, activist Democrats in the party and these union folks who helped oust Altmire in April recognize what they’ve done. They played into the hands of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. In a 14 year stretch, we’ve elected a Democrat to Congress from northern Allegheny County three times– Jason Altmire’s six years in office. The awful Hart and Rothfus duo have never been beaten in a run for public office unless Altmire is on the ballot.
I have made this mistake before, I voted for Melissa Hart in 2000 because she appeared to be a moderate Republican. I was wrong, and I then had to deal with her until 2006 when Altmire came through and won this seat against all odds.
I hope that Congressman-elect Rothfus represents our district with the level-headedness that Altmire did, but I’m extremely skeptical.