After the last census numbers were tabulated, Pennsylvania lost two congressional seats and was forced to redistrict the state. In one of the newly created districts an unusual battle is underway, pitting Rep. Mark Critz -- a Democrat -- against GOP candidate Keith Rothfus.
Congressman Critz is the incumbent. He was elected to that seat back in 2010, filling the spot occupied for 36 years by John Murtha. Critz's first TV ad of the fall is confusing to some people as it attacks his own party -- including Obama by name -- on a few points typically associated with Democrats.
Here's the pro-coal, pro-life, and pro-gun ad:
That language is certainly not found in typical campaign ads seen from a Democrat running for office. Perhaps the old adage, "All politics is local" applies here.
In 2011, the state's GOP leadership redrew the district's lines in hopes of making it a likely Republican pick up in 2012. Politics PA reports that Critz is running against the Obama administration for at least one reason: President Obama lost the district by at 8 points in 2008.
Mr. Rothfus has responded with a statement from his campaign manager, Jon Raso:
“The voters know Congressman Critz’s liberal leadership is exactly why they’re struggling, and all he can do to try and stay in power is deceive them. Someone who supports President Obama in over three out of every four votes and voted with Nancy Pelosi 95% of the time during her leadership is the last thing from ‘independent.’”
Current polling data is inconsistent at best.
- A House Majority PAC / SEIU poll has Critz ahead by 6 points
- This summer, the Critz campaign conducted its own survey and claimed a 10 point lead.
- Roll Call calls the race a "toss up"