Rather than renting a hotel ballroom and holding a party like most pols, Jason Altmire will spend his biggest election night since 2006 casting votes in Congress.
The three-term McCandless Democrat is fiercely attached to his record of never having missed a vote since joining Congress in January 2007 and will not miss one tomorrow, despite what looks to be a close primary against fellow Democrat Mark Critz of Johnstown. (Critz will be at his hometown's Holiday Inn.)
"I wish we didn't have votes tomorrow but I have been elected to sdo a job and part of that job is voting. That's what comes first," he said in an inteview at his campaign office in Lower Burrell. "I'm not going to miss votes for politics."
Much of the battle in the race's closing weeks has been over funding for Social Security and Medicare, and both Critz and Altmire were on KDKA radio today still jousting over their voting histories and making in-person pitches to seniors. Altmire addressed a small group at a Lower Burrell senior center in the afternoon on that subject and others before descending on the American flag sheet cake (right) his campaign provided.
With about two-thirds of the new 12th District are in his old, North Hills based seat, regional turnout will be the main factor in who wins Tuesday, he said.
"You'll be able to tell on election night, if turnout is uniform across the district, relatively the same, that's good for me. Obviously if turnout is higher in Johnstown than in other parts of the district that's good for Mark. He has an all-out effort to get the votes in Johnstown, that's where the union organizers are focusing their attention, and we're doing just as much on our end to make sure we get the vote out in this part of the district."
And those votes Altmire will be taking rather than being back in the district? Six of them, largely having to do with park land in New Mexico, Minnesota and Idaho.