Barely a week after the Pennsylvania primary, the National Republican Congressional Committee kicked off the 12th district general election with an advertisement blasting Rep. Mark Critz (D).
This early spot shows House Republicans want this swing southwestern seat, and they want it badly.
Critz faces attorney Keith Rothfus in November. The NRCC paid for the spot, which will run for two weeks on Fox News in the Pittsburgh media market. An NRCC spokesman would not divulge the exact size of the ad buy.
In recent cycles, the 12th district has proved elusive for House Republicans, most notably when the NRCC spent millions on a May 2010 special election following Democratic Rep. John Murtha's death in 2010. Critz, a former top aide to Murtha, won that special election.
On paper, this is a competitive district for Republicans, but Critz won re-election in November 2010 against the same GOP opponent he beat in the special. One year later, the GOP made the district even more favorable for Republicans when it redrew the Congressional boundaries during the decennial redistricting process.
Pennsylvania Republicans moved two Democrats into that competitive district north of Pittsburgh, forcing Critz and Rep. Jason Altmire to face off in the April 24 primary. Critz prevailed over Altmire, winning by just 1,248 votes.