“I did give Mark Critz a financial contribution,” Brady told reporters. “I am endorsing him also.”
Pennsylvania Democrats view Brady as the unofficial dean of their delegation, and his endorsement carries symbolic weight. Even though he’s not the longest-serving House Democrat from Pennsylvania, aides argued that Brady’s support shows where many Democrats in the delegation stand on the race: More than two years after Murtha’s death, many Members are loyal to Critz, his longtime staffer.
“Most people are rooting for Mark,” one Pennsylvania Democratic staffer said. “There’s clearly a history. A lot of Members worked with Mark when he was a staffer. Mr. Murtha was beloved by the delegation, and I think that merits a certain loyalty.”
Critz worked on Murtha’s official staff beginning in 2001, including serving as his district director for three years. After Murtha died in 2010, Critz won a competitive special election for his seat.
“When I got through that special election, I was adopted by a lot of senior Members,” Critz said. “In the Pennsylvania corner, those guys really took me under their wing. Even though I was Jack Murtha’s guy, I was still a rookie.”
In addition to Brady, Critz remains close with a couple of Pennsylvania Democrats. He dines almost weekly in Washington with Doyle, Rep. Tim Holden (Pa.) and a cadre of other northeastern Democrats.
Meanwhile, Altmire staked out a distinctly different path in Congress.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.