Real Clear Politics notes that Mark Critz is doing all he can -- outwardly -- to distance himself from Democratic leaders, even as he's holding private fundraisers for his 12th District special election race with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden:
But even as he benefits from the support of his party's heavyweights, Critz is taking pains to distance himself from its agenda as the vote draws nearer. Most conspicuously, the former Murtha aide launched a television ad this weekend in which -- with his voice apparently hoarse from the campaign trail -- he aims to set the record straight and declares his opposition to the health care law passed and signed last month. It was a response to an ad from the National Republican Campaign Committee which said Critz "will put the liberal agenda before Pennsylvania."
"I'm pro life and pro gun. That's not a liberal," Critz says in his own spot.
Dave Anderson at the liberal Newshoggers sees much the same thing, comparing Critz's situation and my story on Jason Altmire's falling-out with labor. Anderson flips the argument to say it should mean good things for HCR supporter Kathy Dahlkemper:
There are five Western Pennsylvania House seats up for election this fall. Two seats, PA-14 and PA-18 are almost definite holds, one each for the Democrats and Republicans, respectively. The other three seats, PA-3, PA-4 and PA-12 are currently held by Democrats but generically trend Republican. PA-4 is represented by Democrat Rep. Jason Altmire, PA-3 is held by Dem. freshman Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper, and PA-12 was held by the former Rep. John Murtha. PA-12 has a special election to replace Murtha in May.
Rep. Dahlkemper in PA-3 has a tough hold. Her district leans slightly Republican and she is a freshman. She does not have a deep well of ties and constituent service goodwill to build a benefit of the doubt or incumbency. However, her campaign manager should be doing cartwheels as her healthcare yes vote should guarantee her significant labor support.
. . . If Western Pennsylvania labor is determined to make healthcare a bright line vote, then Dahlkemper's campaign manager should be doing cartwheels, as she should benefit from the vast majority of labor's money, organizers and volunteers.