Candidates: Mark Critz, Democrat/Keith Rothfus, Republican
Critz, 50, of Johnstown (left), has been in office since 2010 and was formerly district director for late U.S. Rep. John Murtha. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1987. He is married and the father to twins.
Rothfus, 50, of Sewickley (below right), came within 2 percentage points of ousting U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, in 2010. He is an attorney and former Federal Emergency Management Agency official during the George W. Bush administration. Rothfus is married and has six children.
Conservative Republican in newly-drawn district north and southeast of Pittsburgh vs. conservative Democrat with deep ties to organized labor
Rothfus: A political outsider with private sector experience, Rothfus is running hard against Obamacare and the national debt, and introducing himself with upbeat ads.
Critz: A survivor of tough races in 2010 and a primary battle against Altmire this spring, Critz is focusing on protecting Medicare and manufacturing/union jobs, while running away from his party's standard-bearer, Barack Obama.
Critz: Republicans drew up the 12th district for a GOP takeover, Critz is little-known in Allegheny and Beaver counties, and Obama's numbers are poor in the district.
Rothfus: If he couldn't win in the 2010 Republican wave year, how can he do so in year where Democrats and labor are motivated to protect the seat? Rothfus is little known in Cambria and Somerset counties, where Mitt Romney may not be very popular either.
Rothfus introduced himself with upbeat spots showing his family, miniature golf game and pushback on Democratic claims about Chinese free trade. Critz's first spot highlighted his support for manufacturing and distanced him from Obama. Outside groups have targeted Rothfus on China and Medicare, and Critz on Obamacare.
Outside groups (including labor unions and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) have run ads on behalf of Critz and others (from the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Young Guns Action fund) have run them for Rothfus.
Money: (See updated numbers here)
Critz's finances were battered by his primary matchup with Jason Altmire. He spent $1.3 million during the cycle so far (with new reports due in mid-October) and had $428,000 in cash.
Rothfus spent just over $270,000 and had $647,479 available at the end of June.