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Playing with House money

Published by James O'Toole on .

In Western Pennsylvania congressional races, incumbents enjoyed predictable cash advantages over their opponents at the June 30 close of the latest federal reporting period.
Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, fresh from an expensive though relatively easy primary victory over Evan Feinberg, reported total receipts of nearly $2 million. While he spent $1.2 million by the end of  the reporting period, he still had $1,024,587 for his quest to fend off a challenge from Larry Maggi, the Democratic nominee and Washington County commissioner.  Mr. Maggi, was well behind in contributions and available cash, but his campaign touted the fact that, with $499,212 in contributions, and $407,771 in available cash, he had raised more than any Murphy challenger since the Republican's 2002 election. Mr. Maggi also reported debts of $126,054, however, while Mr. Murphy ended the period debt free.
In what figures to be the most competitive race in the region, Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, had out-raised his Republican opponent, Keith Rothfus, but after his expensive primary battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire, faced a cash disadvantage as the campaigns entered the second half of the year.  With total spending of roughly $1.3 million, Mr. Critz had $428,275 on hand.  Mr. Rothfus spent just over $270,000 in the first half of the year, and had $647,479 available at the end of June.  Both candidates went into the general election with campaign debts, $113,575 for Mr. Critz and $200,467 for the Republican.
In the third district, which stretches from Erie down through Butler County, Rep. Mike Kelly, the freshman Republican, had raised $820,315, and had $389,138 in cash, although he also reported campaign debts of $331,995.  Melissa Ann Eaton, the Democratic nominee in the district, had raised $130,867, spent, $109,385, and had just $21,482 in cash with four months to go before the general election.
In the 14th District, which includes the city of Pittsburgh and much of the Mon Valley, Rep. Mike Doyle, the veteran Democrat, had $293,230 in campaign cash after raising a total of $660,623 in this cycle.  His opponent, Republican Hans Lessman, had $14,351 available from his receipts of $15,935.

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