Because of a Republican-drawn redistricting plan, Democratic incumbents Rep. Jason Altmire (D-4) of McCandless and Rep. Mark Critz (D-12) of Johnstown are facing-off in an April 24th primary leading up to the 2012 general election.
According to a research memo out this week, Critz is gaining momentum in the race and is now within 10 points of his democratic rival.
The research, which was conducted and released by Global Strategy Group on behalf of the Critz campaign states, “If the Democratic primary for Congress was today, 47% of likely voters say they would vote for Jason Altmire, and 37% would vote for Mark Critz.”
In a statement, the Critz campaign reacted to the news with optimism: "He is starting out behind in his primary against fellow Congressman Jason Altmire. But [this] lays out…a viable path to victory.”
This new poll is a sharp contrast to a poll released by the Altmire camp last month. According to that research, done by Anzalone Liszt Research, “Jason Altmire holds a wide lead over Mark Critz in the Democratic primary for the newly-drawn 12th Congressional District.”
To read the detailed research released by both campaigns, read the PDF documents in the sidebar of this article.
The two democrats have been battling for endorsements since Gov. Corbett signed the GOP-drawn redistricting plan into law late last year.
Critz lost a key battle in that endorsement fight by a 2-1 margin last weekend when the Allegheny County Democratic Committee endorsed Altmire for the new 12th Congressional District seat. The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, and State Reps. Dom Costa, Jaret Gibbons, Joe Markosek, Rob Matzie, Adam Ravenstahl and Chris Sainato have also endorsed Altmire. For a full list of Altmire endorsements, click here.
To date, Mark Critz has been endorsed by nine unions including the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1279, International Association of Fire Fighters Laborers and United Mine Workers of America. For a full list of Critz endorsements, click here.
The redrawn map features significant changes because the state's congressional delegation is losing a seat for the 2012 election as a result of the 2010 census. Pennsylvania will go from 19 to 18 seats, with each new district representing about 705,000 people.
Democrats, who introduced their own version of the map as an amendment, which then failed, blasted Republicans for the plan.
"The Republicans have proposed a map far more partisan and gerrymandered than anyone would have guessed, a map that they will now force into law without any public input," said Jim Burn, Pennsylvania Democratic chairman.
"We knew that the Republicans would use their control of the process to draw a map that benefited Republicans, but we did not expect them to abuse their power to this degree, all while shutting out the public."