Tags: Mark Critz

NRCC: Stand With the AFL-CIO, Not Obama, on the Keystone Pipeline!


On Twitter, I asked this morning, “Does anyone doubt that if the Keystone Pipeline ran through must-win swing states for Obama, he would have instantly approved?”

The NRCC is going after Democrats like Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton , arguing that by supporting Obama’s hesitation on the Keystone XL Pipeline, he is betraying “labor unions like the teamsters and segments of the AFL –CIO.

Announcer: Remember when President Obama said this about passing new jobs legislation?

Obama: We can no longer wait.

Announcer: But now it’s President Obama who wants to wait, to create up to 130,000 jobs with the Keystone pipeline bringing oil from Canada to the US.Announcer: If Washington does it Obama’s way that oil and those jobs will go to China. Congress has a chance to pass the pipeline jobs law before Christmas. The law has support of labor unions like the teamsters and segments of the AFL –CIO. But Betty Sutton is on the fence. Tell Sutton to support new jobs instead of supporting Obama.

Ads and robocalls will run in the districts of Reps. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Mark Critz (D-Pa.). 

Tags: Barack Obama , Betty Sutton , Collin Peterson , Jason Altmire , Keystone XL Pipeline , Mark Critz , Nick Rahall , NRCC

Don’t Put Too Much Stock in a Special House Election, but . . .


Last night, the special House election in New York’s 26th congressional district ended in what feels like the traditional manner for Republicans in these circumstances: disappointment.

Late last night, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent to reporters a quick reminder on the dangers of over-interpreting a special House election:


“A buoyant Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday basked in the Democrats’ special-election triumph while bashing Republicans and expressing confidence that her party will retain control of the House.”

“Pelosi is clearly happy and relieved that former Murtha aide Mark Critz will replace his old boss. Throughout The Hill’s interview, Pelosi laughed, cracked some jokes and even teased her questioners.”

“Despite some predictions of a huge GOP wave this fall, Pelosi says it’s not going to happen: ‘One thing I know for sure is that Democrats will retain their majority in the House of Representatives.’” (Bob Cusack and Jared Allen, “Bring it on: Pelosi predicts ‘for sure’ that Dems will win House,”The Hill, 5/19/10)

“Congressional Democrats on Wednesday seized on their special election victory in a Pennsylvania House district and other primary results as evidence that they can stem Republican political momentum, as both parties sifted through Tuesday night’s returns for lessons to learn and mistakes to avoid heading to November.”

“‘We are going to maintain our majority,’ Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, said.”

“‘Republicans test-drove their November strategy in Pennsylvania and it crashed,’ said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said.” (Carl Hulse, “House Victory Lifts Democrats’ Hopes for Fall,” The New York Times, 5/20/10)

“For the GOP, this was a test run of their strategy to rally voters around opposition to the Obama agenda and to personalize the race against Nancy Pelosi as the face of runaway liberalism.”

Republicans are on course to make substantial gains in November, but the wave that would bring them the 40 seats they need to reach the majority seems more elusive today than it did before they fell short in Pennsylvania.” (Eleanor Clift, “Firewall Around the Democrats’ House,”Newsweek, 3/21/10)

“House Democratic leaders had a clear message for their nervous rank and file as they assessed the Pennsylvania special election results Wednesday morning: It might not be that bad.”

“The Democratic victory in the late Rep. John Murtha’s district punctured the Republican narrative that a GOP machine turbocharged by tea party energy would run roughshod over the Democratic majority this fall by running against health care, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Barack Obama, Democrats said.” (Steven T. Dennis and Jackie Kucinich, “Democrats Breathing Easier Now,” Roll Call, 05/20/10)

As we all know, Republicans went on to win 63 seats in the midterms. For that matter, the NRCC could have spotlighted Bill Owen’s victory over Doug Hoffman and the still-on-the-ballot Dede Scozzafava in New York’s 23rd district in November 2009, or Scott Murphy’s win over Jim Tedisco in New York’s 20th district in March 2009.

Still, for the GOP, there is a warning in these results. They want to make changes to Medicare, and that, in the eyes of their Democratic opponents, is destroying Medicare. Even if everyone in the party dropped the Ryan plan like a hot potato, the Democrats would still run ads of Ryan as an axe-murderer perpetrating a retirement-home massacre. Republicans will need to find a way to effectively counter it, or they’ll lose a lot of seats in 2012.

Tags: Kathy Hochul , Mark Critz

Did Joe Sestak’s Surge Save Mark Critz?


Talking to an NRCC guy who’s looked at last night’s numbers extensively, he concludes that the polls and expectations in Pennsylvania’s special election were thrown off not merely by the competitive Democratic Senate primary, but particularly by Joe Sestak’s surge in the final two weeks.

Committee strategists worried about the effect of the Senate primary at first, but as they started getting polling numbers back, they suspected the special election would be the chief driver for turnout in this part of the state. Until the beginning of May or so, that seemed to be the case. But in the final weeks, Sestak’s surge — driven by massive amounts of television advertising, hitting Specter for his ties to George W. Bush — drove a sudden burst of interest in voting among the Democratic base. This analyst thinks these Sestak-driven voters amounted to about 8,000 to 10,000 voters, roughly the size of Critz’s margin of victory. The Sestak-surge-driven Democrats turned out because they were determined to toss out Specter; they were more liberal and more partisan than your average district Democrat. Thus, Tim Burns, who usually ran well among Democrats, in the neighborhood of 20 percent, probably only won about 15 percent of Democrats last night.

This NRCC number-cruncher notes that on paper, the Republicans did have high-intensity turnout; they outperformed the highest Republican level of turnout for a primary – although that’s not the highest bar to clear; since Murtha usually appeared untouchable, GOP primaries in this district weren’t usually big affairs, with 20,000 to 26,000 votes. The Republicans brought out 45,000 votes and expected the Democrats to bring out about 60,000 votes. (If Burns took 20 percent of that, and kept most of the Republican vote, he would win handily.)

Instead, 83,000 Democratic voters turned out.

This NRCC number-cruncher isn’t drawing a ton of conclusions from this race yet, but he wonders if there’s a need for Republicans to be wary of poll numbers indicating rural, red-state, or coal-country Democrats are turning against the party they traditionally support: “We can’t take that at face value. We’ve got to have a little cynicism about those numbers, because these are folks who have been voting for Democrats for decades, and their moms and dads were voting for Democrats for decades before that. They don’t just jump across that easily.”

Tags: Arlen Specter , Joe Sestak , Mark Critz , NRCC , Tim Burns

Looking for ‘No Excuses’ in Pennsylvania’s 12th


I talk Pennsylvania-12 with Will Cain.

The silver lining: In Pennsylvania’s 11th district, Paul Kanjorski, incumbent Democrat, finished with 49 percent, a plurality in a three-way primary. Put another way, with no reason for Republicans to go to the polls, uncontested GOP candidate Lou Barletta won 28,311 votes in that district; with the Senate primary excitement and a contested primary, Kanjorski finished with 33,783 votes. Barletta can win this, but he’s got to win independents and persuade some of those Democrats who were disinclined to vote for Kanjorski that he’s the better choice.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

You Can’t Sell Free-Market Economics to Pork Addicts


Now here’s an analysis on Pennsylvania’s 12th district I find compelling: Forget Democrat vs. Republican registration numbers; this is a pork-based district, and the voters knew that the guy who talked about creating jobs in the private sector wasn’t as committed to bringing home the bacon.

From the Washington Post:

“He got us millions of jobs,” Charles Finnegan, 72, a retired construction worker, said of Murtha after casting his ballot in nearby Windber. “Critz, he’s going to follow John Murtha’s way of thinking.”

Nathan Wurtzel, one of the sharpest political guys on Twitter in my neck of the woods, asks, “How do we reach voters who think millions of jobs were created in a district of 600,000 people? The fact is, nearly 20,000 jobs were LOST in this district over the last decade, Murtha’s airport notwithstanding.”

A reader familiar with the area weighs in:

If you’ve ever been in Johnstown, stop by the flood museum,  it’s pretty good but about the only thing going on in the area. Murtha survived (and thrived) by being a porkmeister par excellance. There is no industry surviving, no business and the area is hard to get to the coal/steel hill country. I think Burns had to compete with a socially conservative but traditional union voter population that has looked for it’s representative in D.C. to bring home the bacon. Critz could tie himself to Murtha’s success in that regard. Of all the Northeastern states, Pennsylvania is much like Maine in that the finance/software/services economy has not fully compensated for the collapse of the older heavily unionized industrial base. Republicans have to sell  the hard proposition that there is no more money to give out.

The reader is correct, but we should realize the difficulty of the message “There is no more free ice cream” against the message “There is plenty of free ice cream, and I will make sure you get your share.”

One other note from another reader, looking down the road a bit: “Mark Critz should enjoy this while he can. In 2012, he’ll need CSI to identify the remains of this district after the GOP finishes redistricting.”

Tags: John Murtha , Mark Critz , Tim Burns

The Democratic Senate Primary Did Not Defeat Tim Burns


Many readers are arguing that Tim Burns’s loss is largely attributable to the high-profile Democratic Senate primary, and competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary, with nothing comparable on the GOP side.

This is a factor, but I’m not ready to say this is why Tim Burns lost. It’s not like this quirk wasn’t known months ago. If you’re the Republican competing in a special election, you’ve got to account for it and have a plan to overcome it.

The pollsters knew this, and two of the three showed Burns winning by small margins. I’m told the internal polling of the Burns camp showed him leading by a small margin. This district wasn’t really considered a key battlefield between Specter and Sestak; it’s not like either Democrat dumped a lot of resources into this corner of the state. Almost every analyst put this race in the “toss-up” category; the sense was that the district demographics and Senate primary factor made the race challenging for Burns, but not unwinnable.

If the Senate-driven Democratic turnout was destined to make this race a Critz win, why did the NRCC spend almost $1 million? Why did the DCCC spend about the same amount? Heading into this race, both sides saw this seat as winnable.

This turned out to be a 10,000 vote margin, 8 percentage points. Tim Burns, a likeable guy who appeared to be a good campaigner, ended up dramatically underperforming.

UPDATE: A reader in the region offers this assessment:

I’m a GOP party person in the 12th District and worked the Burns campaign, all day yesterday at the polls etc.  We have 9% independents in this county and virtually none of them voted in this special election, partly due to the way the state conducted the election as a part of the primary.  One polling place even messed up the voting because they thought the third paper ballot sheet was just for the 12th race, when it was actually the independent ballot.  Your one reader that commented that the independents control elections may be correct in this instance.  Factor in a abysmally low turnout and the Russell campaign and it is very possible that Burns can win in the fall, although personally I think he needs to stop running stupid negative ads (and I mean both stupid and negative, a deadly combination) and dial down the robo-telephone calls.  EVERYONE yesterday was completely fed up with the intrusive robo telephone calls.  Don’t politicians understand the fact that people put themselves on the “do-not-call” lists for a reason?  And to call the Pittsburgh area smack dab in the middle of a Penguins hockey playoff game?  Dumb beyond belief.  Wise up and the seat can be had by the GOP.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

The PA-12 Results Are Bad for the GOP. Just How Bad?


In Pennsylvania’s 12th district, Republican Tim Burns has conceded to Democrat Mark Critz.

One reader’s on the ledge:

Pa12 is more than a disappointment.  It is a disaster.  You know politics as well as I do (even though I’m probably your senior by at least thirty years).  When there is a political wave the following happens: parties win special elections in normally difficult districts; they win with weak candidates; they win all the close elections. They just win, win, and win.  Burns’s defeat shows, as of now, the Rs will unlikely take the House.  Perhaps they’ll do well; as today’s generic Gallup indicates around a gain in the low thirties.  But not what we need.  I didn’t read much about what Burns’ campaign was like, perhaps you can offer some meaningful analysis.  My guess is that the Republican label is still a liability in many areas; areas that they have to win in order to take the House.

A point: Tim Burns’s task was complicated by the fact that he was running against a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who ran against the health-care bill and the cap-and-trade legislation. The Burns campaign did everything they could to tie Critz to Democratic figures and laws that polled badly in the district — Pelosi, the health-care bill — and it appears that in the end, voters in the district weren’t buying it.

But I am wondering about the Burns campaign’s get-out-the-vote operation at this hour. Also, another conservative blogger mentioned to me a few days ago that some supporters of Bill Russell, the Republican who ran against John Murtha in 2008, wouldn’t be supporting Burns in the special election. (Russell is competing against Burns in the primary election for the November ballot; at this moment, Burns leads Russell, 56 percent to 43 percent.) I was skeptical that enough Russell supporters would do this to effect the race, but now I’m wondering. Did the Russell folks keep their ballots blank?

UPDATE: Jay Cost: “I count about 95,000 votes in special election and 111,000 in primaries.” (UPDATE: Nevermind, it’s a glitch on the Pennsylvania site.)

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Burns? Oh, It Hurts Right Now.


We may be on the verge of a great disappointment for Republicans. While no one doubted that the demographic challenge facing Republican Tim Burns in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district, a variety of factors appeared to be working in his favor: the national mood, the usual GOP advantages in a special election, an advantage in fundraising, the broad support of national conservative groups, and polling that indicated a small but regular lead.

Tonight, Burns has not yet led Democrat Mark Critz; Critz is overperforming Obama – who narrowly lost the district – in most of the precincts that have reported. Critz, in fact, is running ahead of John Murtha’s numbers in 2008 in certain precincts.

The NRCC, and Republicans nationwide, expected a great deal more from Tim Burns; at the very least, the stage was set for him to outperform all Republicans running for the House in this district in recent memory. The remaining precincts should be favorable to Burns, but the numbers are looking very tough at this point in the evening.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Was Mark Critz Campaigning in Polling Places Today?


Pennsylvania Republicans contend Mark Critz was electioneering inside a polling place today.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania Spokesman Mike Barley released the following statement regarding Democratic Congressional candidate Mark Critz campaigning inside polling places in Cambria County.

“I guess Mark Critz has picked up some pointers from President Barack Obama, namely Chicago-style politics,” Barley said.  “Reports have come in from voters who have seen Mark Critz showing up and campaigning inside a number of polling locations all over Cambria County.”  (see the attached photo of Mark Critz electioneering inside the Westmont 6 polling location in Cambria County)

All the photo shows is Critz standing with two other men; we don’t know whether he’s saying, “good morning” or “vote for me.” But if this isn’t the polling place in which he’s voting, just what the heck is he doing in there?

Tags: Mark Critz

The Early Word on Turnout in PA-12


One guy watching the Pennsylvania special House election closely tells me of one polling place in Fayette County that has astonishingly low turnout, a little over 100 votes by nearly 5 p.m. On paper, I think that’s good for Tim Burns (although I suppose it might also be good news for Bill Russell, competing against Burns for the GOP nomination in November).

Politico: “Cambria County Elections Director Fred Smith tells POLITICO that 62 percent of the county’s 1,060 absentee ballots in the Pennsylvania 12th District special election were cast by registered Democrats, while 35 percent came from Republicans. Of the 90,740 registered voters overall in the county, 61 percent are Democrats and 31 percent Republicans–so an uptick in early GOP participation, while Democratic turnout is about par, as far as the absentees go.”

Via Dan Riehl, early word on turnout:

Cambria County Director of Elections Fred Smith said early morning rain had an impact and characterized voter turnout as “moderate.”

“The rain slowed down some of the early voters. I predicted a 42 percent turnout and I believe we may still get that,” Smith said. “People are patriotic here in Cambria County and they will come out and vote but the weather has been a factor.”

Patriotism was also cited by voters who slowly streamed in and out of the Lakemont United Methodist Church, polling place for Logan Township’s second precinct.

“Each race is important. If we want change in November, we need to exercise our right to vote now. I am here to vote because people died for our right to do this. I always vote,” said Maribeth Mills.

Voter turnout was light in Blair County, said Ingrid Healy-Tucker, director of elections.

Cambria county has 55,828 registered Democrats and 27,549 registered Republicans; Blair County has 29,602 registered Democrats and 45,658 registered Republicans.

Reports of low turnout are probably good for Burns; polls indicated that his voters were more motivated. But this is speculation….

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Expecting A ‘Nailbiter’ In Pennsylvania’s 12th District


I’ll have a full wrap-up of how the special election in Pennsylvania went tomorrow morning, but checking around, I find Republicans very cautiously optimistic. The sense is that this is Tim Burns has run a good campaign and now has to overcome the tough demographics of the district; if turnout is low, Burns should win; if turnout is medium, it will be close; and if turnout is high, Democrat Mark Critz should win. The term “nailbiter” is being thrown around; the PPP poll, showing Burns up by one percentage point, is considered to be in the ballpark.

I’m told not to worry if the earliest returns, heavily from Johnstown, favor Critz; Washington County and the Pittsburgh suburbs should be better for Burns, but their results will probably be reported later in the evening.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Predictions for the May Primaries...


Sometimes I’m really right (Massachusetts special Senate election) and sometimes I’m not. I see things similarly to John Miller.

My sense of how things play out today:

Pennsylvania Senate primary, Democrats: Joe Sestak 52 percent, Specter 48 percent. I’m less confident of this one than I was a few days ago. Almost all of the momentum is on Sestak’s side, the crowds for Specter’s events have been small, and the White House is reportedly preparing for a Specter defeat.

But the polling shows a high number of undecided voters – at least 10 percent in most polls -  and I wonder if those folks just stay home. Sestak’s had plenty of time to make the sale to these folks, and has advertised heavily. He’s caught up close to Specter, but you would figure in this environment, running against an 80-year-old five-term incumbent who was a Republican up until about a year ago, he should be able to roar ahead. I’ll stick with my original prediction, but if Specter ends up eking out a victory by the skin of his teeth, thanks to a better organization, I won’t be surprised. And, of course, Pat Toomey will be pleased.

Arkansas Senate Primary, Democrats: Blanche Lincoln 49 percent, Bill Halter 47 percent, Other 4 percent. This one is rather moot, as it will probably go to a runoff, but I think that Lincoln is safe in a primary this year. Again, Halter’s had a lot of time to close the sale in an anti-incumbent year, and still trails most polls.

Arkansas Senate Primary, Republicans: Rep. John Boozman way ahead of everyone with 47 percent; he and Gilbert Baker are in a runoff.

Kentucky Senate Primary, Democrats: Daniel Mongiardo over Jack Conway. Yeah, you don’t care about this one.

Kentucky Senate Primary, Republicans: Rand Paul over Trey Grayson. Won’t be close, something like 56 percent to 44 percent.

Pennsylvania’s 12th District Special House Election: Republican Tim Burns over Mark Critz by a hair. I feel more confident knowing that Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman is making the same call. There’s more enthusiasm on the Republican side, but Critz is running in a district with a lot of Democrats. Independents appear to be breaking pretty heavily to Burns. Critz hasn’t been that bad a candidate, but he’s in a district where Obama’s approval is low, Pelosi is disdained, the health care bill is hated, cap-and-trade is seen as a job killer, and unemployment is high. What is he supposed to talk about? What is he supposed to campaign on?

Tags: Arlen Specter , Bill Halter , Blanche Lincoln , Joe Sestak , John Boozman , Mark Critz , Rand Paul , Tim Burns

Bill Clinton to PA-12 Voters: Don’t Trust Your Gut Instincts!


Theory: If you’re a candidate, and your surrogates have to tell voters not to do what they’re emotionally inclined to do, you’re in trouble.


Former President Bill Clinton, who remains deeply popular in this steel-and-coal district, capped off an afternoon rally at the Frank J. Pasquerilla Convention Center where he touted Democrat Mark Critz as the logical heir to the Murtha legacy . . . The former president alluded to the electorate’s angry mood. “Think about decisions you made when you were really mad,” Mr. Clinton told the audience. “It’s about an 80 percent chance you made a mistake.”

Indeed, Mr. President,  I can think of a lot of folks who were mad at George H. W. Bush over breaking his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge, and so they voted third-party or stayed home, and you know how that story turned out.

Meanwhile, Republican Tim Burns’s campaign noticed that all of the security costs for Clinton’s visit were covered by Johnstown, Pa., and not the Critz campaign. I guess that approach is fiscally conservative . . . for him.

Tags: Bill Clinton , Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Tim Burns Leads, but He Has No Margin for Error


It’s not quite a surprise, but worth noting anyway: PPP sees a close race in Pennsylvania’s special House election; they find Republican Tim Burns barely leading, 48 percent to 47 percent, over Democrat Mark Critz.

If Burns does pull out the victory on Tuesday night it will be more because of a continuing gap in interest between Democratic and Republican voters in the off year election than anything else. Critz is actually winning over more McCain voters (14%) than Burns is Obama voters (12%). This race is not an example of people who voted for Obama who are now unhappy with him and voting Republican. But those planning to vote on Tuesday report having voted for John McCain by 5 points in 2008, compared to his actual 1 point victory in the district.

And among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote in this election, Burns has a 60-38 lead.

There’s been very little movement in the race since PPP polled it a month ago. The main difference is that negative campaigning has driven up both candidates’ negatives by 10-11 points. Where Burns’ favorability was a net +19 in April it’s now just +8. And where Critz was previously at a net +7 it’s now -6.

Tim Burns has a real chance to win this, but he’s going to need every last vote he can get.

Having said that, I notice Burns is winning independents 52 percent to 31 percent in PPP’s poll, and right now the Republicans are most enthused (52 percent describing themselves as “very enthusiastic”), independents are next most enthused (40 percent), and Democrats are least enthused (35 percent) among the three groups. The election is in two days. The ingredients are there for a Burns win.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

The DCCC Knows No Shame, No Remorse, No Corrections


Mark Critz, the Democrat running in Pennsylvania’s special House election, apologized for misstating the position of his rival, Tim Burns, on the flat tax and a national sales tax:

But DCCC knows no shame. They’re running a new ad, with the same wrong facts on Burns’s position.

I’d note this is the same line of attack that did jack squat to Republican Charles Djou’s polling numbers in Hawaii’s special election.

Tags: Charles Djou , DCCC , Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Do Djou and Burns Have Enough Gas in the Tank?


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s retreat from Hawaii is a nice omen for Republican Charles Djou, who is running against two Democrats, Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case. But the voting in this race is still going on, and I hope he and his grassroots organizers are keeping the pedal to the metal.

I put both special elections in my “yellow/middle” category in my list of 99. There have been quite a few nice indicators for Djou and for Tim Burns, who is running in Pennsylvania’s special House election. (In Murtha’s old district, Democrat Mark Critz continues to run against the health-care bill.)

But these are districts where the GOP hasn’t been competitive in quite a while, and I’ve got a nagging doubt or two about the get-out-the-vote operations. Yes, independents are trending away from Democrats lately, but will they remember to vote in a special election? (Or by mail, as in Hawaii?) I have little doubt that Djou and Burns will perform better than any Republican has in those districts in many years; but the question is, will it be enough to win the seat?

Tags: Charles Djou , Colleen Hanabusa , Ed Case , Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Do Mark Critz’s Supporters Know When Election Day Is?


The NRCC passes along this word:

A new internal poll shows the race in PA-12 to be neck-and-neck.  The numbers also demonstrate that intensity not only favors the GOP, but they give Tim Burns a 7-point edge among voters most tuned-in and aware of the Special Election on May 18.  Key excerpts from the poll are included below:

·         Tim Burns leads Mark Critz 43%-41%, with 14% remaining undecided.

·         Among those most likely to vote, Tim Burn’s lead over Mark Critz is wider.

·         Among those who can blindly correctly name the election day (40% of the electorate) Burns leads Critz 49% 42%.

·         Among those most interested in the election (72% of the voters) Burns leads Critz 46% 40%.

·         Among those who are extremely likely to vote (65% of the voters) Burns leads Critz 45% 41%.

NOTE: The results are from a survey of 400 likely voters completed in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional district by Public Opinion Strategies May 4-5, 2010. The margin of error on the survey is plus or minus 4.9%.

I’m glad the Burns folks are seeing this, but no one should have any illusions – this is going to be a tough, hard-fought race all the way to the end.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Don’t Call Me, Mr. President, I’ll Call You


Heh: “The [Mark Critz] campaign wouldn’t say whether Critz has asked for the president’s endorsement.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Mark Critz

Ah, That Always Reassuring Internal Polling


In Pennsylvania’s special House election, Democrat Mark Critz says internal polling puts him ahead by 8 percentage points; the DCCC’s internal polling put him up 2. But the PPP poll put Republican Tim Burns up by 3, and the Kos poll put Burns up by 6. Public Opinion Strategies put Burns up by 4 three weeks ago.

Bottom line? Close race, nobody should take this one for granted. It’s a Democratic district, but a conservative Democratic district.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns

Mark Critz Gets It Wrong Again


In his latest ad – again, a defensive one – Democrat Mark Critz contends that an earlier ad from Tim Burns is “attacking John Murtha’s memory.” He shows a split-second of the ad, featuring the “Office of Congressional Ethics.”

Actually, Mr. Critz, you were under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Back in 2002, when you were just a staffer.

As I wrote in mid-March:

As they were with Murtha himself, complaints to the House Ethics Committee about Critz are an old and familiar occurrence. In 2002, redistricting put Murtha up against another Democrat, Rep. Frank Mascara. Mascara contended that on several occasions, Murtha and Critz had performed official duties outside their own district. On April 6, 2002, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Mascara had filed a complaint with the ethics panel after Critz handed out Murtha’s biography and business card at a Waynesboro event; Critz’s actions, he contended, constituted “using government grants to campaign.”

Murtha’s defense may have been more troubling than the Mascara complaint itself. Murtha explained that Critz spent half of his time on the government payroll and half of his time on the campaign payroll. While many congressional staffers voluntarily (and sometimes involuntarily) use vacation time to do unpaid work for their bosses’ campaigns, an arrangement in which a staffer splits his time between government work, which is not supposed to be partisan, and campaign work, which obviously is, is ethically problematic, even if it isn’t strictly illegal.

Critz’s ad is flat-out wrong, but this wouldn’t be the first time. He apologized for misstating Burns’s views on taxes.

Also note that in his new ad, Mark Critz claims Tim Burns “outsourced jobs overseas.” When was this? The closest thing to a justification is that Burns’s company “deferred taxes on income earned overseas”; this is actually referring to NDCHealth Corp., the company Burns worked at for six months after it purchased his start-up, TechRx. But the Critz camp never points to any actual jobs being moved from the U.S. to overseas. Did NDCHealth Corp. move any jobs overseas during that period?

Elswhere, the Critz camp insists that when Burns sold his company, jobs were lost. But that is disputed; Burns “insists the purchaser expanded operations at the industrial park outside Pittsburgh International Airport, though he ducks the issue of whether any jobs were lost in the shift.”

Really? Critz is claiming Burns “outsourced jobs overseas” because the sale of his company may have seen some jobs lost in the transition? Shoddy, even by Critz’s standards.

Tags: Mark Critz , Tim Burns


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