The election experts at Sabato's Crystal Ball -- the weekly newsletter issued by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics -- today moved its rating on PA12 from a "toss up" to "Leans Democratic." Their explainer:
We're also comfortable enough now to upgrade the chances of Rep. Mark Critz (D, PA-12). His Western Pennsylvania district is challenging for Democrats, but this John Murtha protégé proved his mettle in a tough primary race against fellow Democrat Jason Altmire in the spring, and he survived two tough races in 2010. We're giving the benefit of the doubt to 2010 Democratic survivors like Critz, when prudent.
Keith Rothus spokesman Jonathan Raso responded:
"We're glad interests outside Pennsylvania are giving Congressman Critz the "benefit of the doubt," but the reason he defeated Jason Altmire in the primary is because he ran as far to the left as possible, touting his cooperation with the democratic leadership that has brought us chronic unemployment above 8%, and promising to work to reelect democrats from the bottom of the ticket to the very top. Like Congressman Critz, those outside Pennsylvania severely underestimate the voters of the twelfth district and their ability to see through the lies and distractions coming from the incumbent's campaign with the help of his liberal special interest allies. The voters know that Keith Rothfus has the policies that will end this barrage on the middle class of unacceptable unemployment, higher taxes, higher gas prices, and higher energy costs. They know that Congressman Critz is the only candidate in this race that has voted to raid Medicare of $700 billion, and that Keith is committed to saving Medicare for our seniors. And they know that given the choice between the same policies of President Obama and Congressman Critz that continue to fail them, or new policies that empower the workers here in pa instead of the bureaucrats in DC, the choice for Rothfus is clear."