Mark Critz is up with his first ad of the 12th congressional district general election campaign -- and if you didn't know any better, you might think he was a Republican, not a Democrat. Which is probably the point.
Republican mapmakers designed the district to force Critz to run against fellow incumbent Dem Jason Altmire in the spring, and pack more Republican voters into the district for GOP challenger Keith Rothfus. Ads have already been airing from Rothfus and outside groups in the district, and in his first spot Critz does all he can to distance himself from the top of his ticket, saying he fought the Obama administration over coal and the Keystone Pipeline, and ends with: "I'm pro-life, pro-gun and I'll fight anyone who stands in the way of Pennsylvania jobs."
UPDATE with response from Rothfus spokesman Jonathan 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". When you get a failing grade of 56% from the National Right to Life, you're not pro-life; when you support Obamacare's $700 billion raid of Medicare, you're not for our seniors; when you support Obama's disastrous economic policies, you're not for Pennsylvania Jobs. Under Congressman Critz, more Americans simply gave up looking for work last month than live in the entire city of Pittsburgh, and hundreds in the coal industry have lost their jobs. Just a few months ago Mr. Critz was making every attempt to out-left Jason Altmire, now he's trying to convince the voters he's a conservative. When Keith Rothfus says he will repeal Obamacare to save Medicare, fight against the policies that have brought us 43 straight months of 8% unemployment, and stand up for the middle class, he's sincere. Congressman Critz's disingenuous sprint from his own record is exactly what the voters are tired of, politics as usual from a career politician."