GREENSBURG (KDKA) — Despite many negative attack ads on television, both Congressman Mark Critz and his Republican challenger Keith Rothfus seem to take them in stride.
“This is my fourth campaign in two years, and I was attacked every single campaign, so for me this is just run of the mill,” Critz told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano.
“My kids say some things,” noted Rothfus, “but we’re focused on re-lighting America.”
Both candidates are battling to represent the new 12th Congressional District that stretches from Beaver County across the North Hills into northern Westmoreland and Cambria and Somerset counties.
At a candidate’s forum in Greensburg before the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce, the candidates squared off on a number of issues.
Rothfus says a top focus is repealing Obamacare, “The model of Obamacare is fundamentally flawed and that has be taken out.”
Critz says that’s an ideological approach that throws the good out with the bad.
“We don’t want seniors having to pay more — reopening the donut hole. We don’t want to have people who have pre-existing conditions be denied. We don’t want women having to pay more because they’re women,” adds the congressman.
Republican Rothfus used part of his time to attack the Obama administration.
“I’m an everyday citizen who’s concerned about the direction that President Obama and the big government advocates are taking this country.”
Democrat Critz did not respond to those attacks, preferring to focus on his local roots.
“As many of you know me, I’m from Irwin, a Norwin High School graduate.”
Calling himself pro-life and pro-gun, Critz — the Democrat — has tried to distance himself from President Obama in a district that voted against Obama four years ago.
Rothfus — and Republicans — are trying to tie Critz to both Obama and Nancy Pelosi, a tactic that was used but failed, two years ago.
This race is expected to be the hardest-fought and most expensive in the area.