Tag Archives: Mark Critz

Senate & House Dollar Report Charts;
Sen. Lee’s Lead in Utah Eroding

By Jim Ellis — July 22, 2022

Senate

Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R)

Utah: McMullin Drawing Closer — Dan Jones & Associates, polling for the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah (July 11-13; 801 registered Utah voters), projects Sen. Mike Lee (R) to have only a 41-36 percent lead over Independent Evan McMullin. This is the closest general election poll reported in the current election cycle.

The Democrats coalesced behind McMullin instead of fielding a candidate of their own. The move looks to be working since Sen. Lee would be faring better in a three-way race with a Democratic candidate peeling away from McMullin. Sen. Lee is likely in better position that this one poll indicates, but the Utah race is certainly beginning to attract some national attention.

Dollar Report: Hot Senate Races — Now that the June 30 Federal Election Commission disclosure reports have been released, we can measure the financial wherewithal of the candidates in the most competitive Senate races. In each instance, the top fundraising challenger is the point race listed against an incumbent or open seat contender. The listed category is cash-on-hand at the June 30 reporting deadline:

Alaska: Sen. Murkowski (R): $6.1 million Kelly Tshibaka (R): $1.08 million
Arizona: Sen. Kelly (D): $24.9 million Jim Lamon (R): $2.1 million
Florida: Sen. Rubio (R): $14.6 million Val Demings (D): $12.6 million
Georgia: Sen. Warnock (D): $22.2 million Herschel Walker (R): $6.8 million
Iowa: Sen. Grassley (R): $4.0 million Michael Franken (D): $1.1 million
Missouri: Vicky Hartzler (R): $1.5 million Lucas Kunce (D): $871,000
North Carolina: Cheri Beasley (D): $4.8 million Ted Budd (R): $1.8 million
New Hampshire: Sen. Hassan (D): $7.4 million Chuck Morse (R): $975,000
Nevada: Sen. Masto (D): $9.8 million Adam Laxalt (R): $2.1 million
Ohio: Tim Ryan (D): $3.6 million J.D. Vance (R): $629,000
Pennsylvania: John Fetterman (D): $5.5 million Mehmet Oz (R): $1.1 million
Utah: Sen. Lee (R): $2.5 million Evan McMullin (I): $1.3 million
Washington: Sen. Murray (D): $7.5 million Tiffany Smiley (R): $3.5 million
Wisconsin: Sen. Johnson (R): $3.6 million Mandela Barnes (D): $1.5 million

Source for $ figures: Daily Kos Elections Blog

House

PA-13: Ex-Rep. Critz Returns — Former Congressman Mark Critz (D), who represented the Johnstown anchored 12th District from May of 2010 when he won a special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D), until his defeat in the 2012 regular election, will be back on the ballot in November. The Pennsylvania Board of Elections has ruled that Critz received enough write-in votes during the May primary election to qualify as the Democratic nominee in the 13th CD that incumbent John Joyce (R-Hollidaysburg) represents. Though Rep. Joyce is a prohibitive favorite in the R+49 district, the Democrats now have a credible standard bearer for the general election.

Dollar Report: Paired & Special House Races — Similar to the above report on the most competitive Senate races, we also look at the resource counts from the June 30 reports for the four races featuring paired incumbents and four in special elections. Two pairings are in nomination mode, with the remaining two as inter-party general election pairings. All four special elections are in the general election mode. Again, the financial number listed is the cash-on-hand amount each candidate held at the June 30 reporting deadline.

PAIRINGS

Aug. 2 Primary:
MI-11: Rep. Haley Stevens (D): $1.8 million Rep. Andy Levin (D): $1.1 million
Aug. 23 Primary:
NY-12: Rep. Caroyln Maloney (D): $2.1 million Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D): $1.2 million
Nov. 8 General Election:
FL-2: Rep. Neil Dunn (R): $763,000 Rep. Al Lawson (D): $412,000
TX-34: Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D): $1.4 million Rep. Mayra Flores (R): $114,000

Specials

Aug. 9 Special General:
MN-1: Jeff Ettinger (D): $548,000 Brad Finstad (R): $334,000
Aug. 16 Special General:
AK-AL: Nick Begich, III (R): $708,000 Mary Peltola (D): $115,000
Aug. 23 Special General:
NY-19: Marc Molinaro (R): $996,000 Pat Ryan (D)*: $576,000
NY-23: Joe Sempolinski (R): $173,000 Max Della Pia (D): $89,000

*Note: Pat Ryan is also running in the contested Democratic primary for the 18th Congressional District nomination on the same day as the 19th CD’s special election

Source for $ figures: Daily Kos Elections Blog

NRCC Announces More Patriots

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released the names of their second round of Patriot Program members, those congressmen who the NRCC believes are its most vulnerable incumbents. Back in April, the Committee publicized the first group of 11 GOP members facing the most competitive political situations.

Yesterday, nine more Representatives became “Patriots.” The program is designed to recruit incumbents in safe political situations to help raise and/or contribute funds to the designated colleagues.

The nine new members are:
• Dan Benishek – MI-1
• Michael Grimm – NY-11
• Bill Johnson – OH-6
• Tom Latham – IA-3
• Gary Miller – CA-31
• Tom Reed – NY-23
• Scott Rigell – VA-2
• Keith Rothfus – PA-12
• Lee Terry – NE-2

Two are rather obvious choices who did not make the first cut when the original Patriots were tabbed three months ago. Rep. Benishek won a second term last November, but with just 48 percent of the vote, outlasting by one point the same opponent he topped in double digits just two years before. Rep. Miller holds the most Democratic seat, at least in terms of the 2012 presidential vote, of any Republican House member.

Rep. Grimm represents the Staten Island seat that generally votes Republican, but did elect a Democrat for a term in the original Obama presidential year of 2008. Announced Democratic candidate Domenic Recchia, a New York City councilman, has already raised more money than Grimm, hence the sophomore congressman being added as a Patriot Program participant.

Representatives Johnson, Rigell, and Terry all hold marginally swing districts. In the majority of political circumstances they, as Republican incumbents, should maintain their seats.

Rep. Reed scored only a 49-46 percent win last November in a district that is more Democratic than his original pre-redistricting 29th CD. Even with the change, the three-point victory was an under-performance.

Rep. Rothfus upset Democratic incumbent Mark Critz in 2012, taking advantage of a favorable Republican redistricting map. The fact that Critz is considering seeking a re-match lands Rothfus in the Patriot Program.

Rep. Latham won a huge victory (52-43 percent) over fellow Congressman Leonard Boswell (D) last November in an incumbent pairing situation, but the district is still very attainable for the Democrats who plan to make the seat a target. It’s unlikely they’ll succeed, but the NRCC action signals that their party will take no chances here.

House Re-Set

Completing our two-part series examining the congressional political picture (the July 8 Political Update covered the Senate outlook), today we look at the House.

Currently, 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats comprise the body’s membership. Three seats are slated to soon become vacant: Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) will be sworn into the Senate upon official certification of his late June special election victory; Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL-1) announced his resignation effective in mid-August to accept a position at the University of Alabama; and Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC-12), should he be confirmed, will become the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency thus leaving the House at an undetermined date.

In contrast to the 2012 cycle when 62 seats were open, at this point only 14 members have announced their retirements, accepted new positions, or are running for a different office. Three others: representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Mark Sanford (R-SC-1), and Jason Smith (R-MO-8), have won special elections since the current 113th Congress began making a grand total of 17 seats that have opened, or will open, since the 2012 general election. Of the fourteen currently projected open seats, eight are Republican held and six Democratic.

Toss-Ups

Attributable to a tight national redistricting model, only eight seats are now in this column. Six of those belong to Democrats (representatives Ron Barber (AZ-2), Scott Peters [CA-52), Patrick Murphy (FL-18), Joe Garcia (FL-26), Mike McIntyre (NC-7), and Jim Matheson (UT-4)], while only two are Republican-held [representatives Gary Miller (CA-31) and Mike Coffman (CO-6)]. Therefore, the GOP is in a slightly better position to gain a small number of seats.

The Leans

Both parties have just about an equal number of “lean” seats. Majority Republicans have 18 of their members or open seats rated as Lean Republican, while  Continue reading >

House: IE Money Flying

The American left and right, including their respective major party organizations, are again spending abundantly in certain House races as we enter the final week of the campaign. In fact, according to new Federal Election Commission independent expenditure (IE) filings just made public, the two sides (House party organizations coupled with outside group spending) have combined to spend $26.4 million during just the Oct. 27-29 period. Of this total, Republican/conservative groups have spent a tick under $14 million, while the Democrats and liberal organizations have spent $12.5 million. Remember, all of these expenditures cover only a three-day period.

The top two races receiving monetary attention in this critical time frame are in New Hampshire, where Rep. Frank Guinta (NH-1-R) is defending the seat he won from ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) in 2010. In just the past three days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has laid down $1.037 million on Shea-Porter’s behalf, mostly for media expenditures on negative ads against Rep. Guinta. Countering that number is the American Action Network, which dropped $637,000 to fund either positive Guinta or negative Shea-Porter ads.

The top Republican recipient is Illinois Rep. Judy Biggert who is having a difficult time in a radically redistricted seat that Democratic leaders designed to defeat her. She opposes former Rep. Bill Foster (D), who lost his 14th District seat in 2010. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spent $837,000 on Biggert’s behalf, while the DCCC countered with $743,000 to help Foster.

At least one other incumbent race is seeing combined party and group spending exceed seven figures for this short period. Minnesota Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN-8) has witnessed the NRCC and the American Action Network (AAN) combine to spend more than $1 million in his heavily Democratic district. Another such CD is the open IL-13 seat that Rep. Tim Johnson (R) is vacating. Republicans and the AAN dropped more than $850,000 here for Rodney Davis as compared to the DCCC’s $329,000 to help their nominee, Dr. David Gill.

The AAN spent more than $500,000 apiece in California (Rep. Jeff Denham, R-CA-10) and Nevada (Rep. Joe Heck, R-NV-3), in addition to the Guinta and Cravaack races, while the House Majority Fund dropped major six-figure expenditures to help New York Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY-1) hold his Long Island CD and over $400,000 to help Connecticut Democrat Elizabeth Esty fend off a strong challenge from Republican state Sen. Andrew Roraback in the seat that Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT-5) is vacating to run for the Senate.

A couple of surprise protects are popping up late for both sides. Democrats, particularly when seeing almost $1 million go toward independent expenditures in Michigan’s 1st CD that contains the state’s Upper Peninsula, believe they have a strong chance to unseat freshman Rep. Dan Benishek. Another strong sleeper campaign might be found in the Orlando area, as the DCCC is dropping more than $427,000 in order to help elect former police chief Val Demings over freshman Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL-10) in Florida.

Democrats are surprisingly spending copiously in Arizona and New York to fend off what they see are serious threats to freshman Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ-2) and two-term Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY-21).

Republicans believe they have a great closing shot to maintain the new 1st District in Arizona, and to defeating Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA-12) who won a brutal primary battle against fellow Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA-4), only to find himself in a relatively strong Republican seat.

No surprise that the IL-17 contest between freshman Rep. Bobby Schilling (R) and local East Moline official Cheri Bustos (D) is hotly contested, as is the inter-party pairing in Ohio between Reps. Betty Sutton (D-OH-13) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16). Both of these campaigns are considered toss-ups.

Of the top 10 races where Democrats are spending, three are to protect incumbents. On the Republican board, five of their top 10 expenditure races are for individuals already serving in the House.

Critz Defeats Altmire in Pennsylvania; Holden Loses

While Mitt Romney was putting the finishing touches on a five-state sweep that will end all doubt about his prospects to become the Republican presidential nominee, Pennsylvania voters also chose statewide nominees and general election candidates from their new congressional districts.

The GOP nominated businessman Tom Smith in the Senate race. Mr. Smith, backed by Pennsylvania Tea Party organizations, invested more than $5 million of his own money in order to advertise heavily throughout the state. The move paid off as he racked up a 40-22-20 percent win over former state Rep. Sam Rohrer, who was the director of the Pennsylvania chapter of Americans for Prosperity, and businessman Steven Welch who enjoyed the support of Gov. Tom Corbett and the state Republican Party establishment. Smith now faces Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D) in the general election and will find tough going in challenging the man who unseated then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R) by more than 18 points six years ago.

In the 12th Congressional District race that featured an incumbent pairing between Democrats Jason Altmire (D-PA-4) and Mark Critz (D-PA-12), the hard-fought campaign culminated in a close victory for Critz. The three-term Altmire had the advantage of already representing just over 63 percent of the new 12th district, versus Critz who saw only 29 percent of his constituency carry over to the new seat. Both candidates were on their way to spending more than $1.5 million for the primary contest.

Considering he began the campaign with with a severe name ID deficit, the 52-48 percent win is an impressive one for Critz and again proves that appealing to the base voter in either party with the fundamental party message is usually successful. Since the new 12th is only a 45 percent Obama district, Republican Keith Rothfus, who held Altmire to a 51-49 percent victory in 2010, certainly will have the opportunity to run a competitive general election campaign against Critz, who may have just positioned himself outside of his new electorate’s mainstream.

In the eastern part of the state, Rep. Tim Holden fell to his Democratic primary challenger. Carrying over just 21 percent of his previous constituency to the new 17th District put Mr. Holden and attorney Matt Cartwright at parity. Raising and spending well over $700,000, the wealthy liberal activist prevailed with an impressive 57-43 percent win, thus bringing the Representative’s 20-year congressional career to an end.

In the open 4th District, all of the real action was in the Republican primary, because the GOP nominee becomes the prohibitive general election favorite in a seat that gave over 55 percent of its votes to John McCain in the 2008 presidential contest. Last night, state Rep. Scott Perry, an Iraq War veteran, swept every county in the new district and scored an overwhelming 54-19-14 percent victory over York County Commissioner Chris Reilly, who enjoyed the public endorsement of Sen. Pat Toomey (R), and attorney Sean Summers, respectively. Perry will now face mechanical engineer Harry Perkinson, who scored 56 percent in the Democratic primary. Mr. Perry will now become the next congressman.

With the Altmire and Holden defeats, 48 House incumbents have either announced their retirements, are running for other offices, resigned their seats, passed away, or have been defeated for renomination. The Holden defeat now brings the grand total of House open seats to 58.