It's 300 miles from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia on the other side of the state. Keith Rothfus put that many miles on his car just yesterday driving around the 12th congressional district.
As we noted earlier Democrat Mark Critz said he was "despondent" when he saw the outlines of the 12th after redistricting late last year, due to how much of it was in Jason Altmire's home seat stretching west to Beaver County and the Ohio border. He took a drive out there just before Christmas though, and said he was surprised at how much it looked like his home base around Johnstown.
Like Rothfus, his Republican opponent, he'll have to do a lot of that through November.
Democrats have tended to overlook Rothfus since even in the 2010 midterm wave year, in a John McCain district, he still failed to topple the incumbent Altmire. (In a similar race one district north in PA3, self-funder Mike Kelly beat another incumbent Dem Kathy Dahlkemper by 11 points.) That may not be wise. He should start the general election campaign today with more cash than Critz, and will hold another fundraiser tonight. The national GOP will likely target the seat for a pickup. And of course Rothfus is a hard worker.
The Edgeworth attorney never stopped hitting local Republican dinners and committee meetings after his 2010 loss, and is taking the 12 District race so seriously that he's moving his family one municipality over into Sewickley so he resides in the district. (Congressional candidates aren't required to do so.) Then there's the mileage on his car: yesterday he did a Sewickley-Richland Township/Cambria-Somerset-Murrysville-Hampton-New Sewickley-Ellwood City-Center Township-Sewickley loop that indeed comes to 275 miles on Google maps. Then he started today by driving the 87 miles back to Critz's backyard in Cambria.
We expect rising gas prices to be an issue in the campaign.