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November 7, 2012

Decision 2012: Republican Rothfus heading to Congress on second try

NEW CASTLE — The second time was a charm for Keith Rothfus.

The Republican, who lost a bid for a congressional seat two years ago, won election Tuesday to represent the 12th District.

He defeated U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, 50, who was seeking his second full two-year term.

Rothfus, 50, from Sewickley had 167,396 votes while Critz received 157,364 votes.

Critz, a Democrat from Johnstown, carried the Lawrence County part of the district with 3,585 votes. Rothfus had 3,503 votes.

The 12th District takes in eight municipalities in the southern part of the county.

“We had the right message in southwestern Pennsylvania,” Rothfus said. “We’re very concerned about the direction of the country.”

Critz spokesman Mike Mikus noted that President Obama did not do well in the district that stretches from the Ohio line to Cambria County.

“We won Beaver and won Lawrence, but not by the margins we needed,” he said, noting that Rothfus carried Allegheny County by a wide margin.

Rothfus won Allegheny County by about 15,000 votes.

Critz carried his home county of Cambria by about 12,000 votes.

The Republican-controlled state Legislature merged the 12th and 4th congressional districts, forcing a battle in the Democratic primary between Critz and U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire.

Rothfus’ win helped Republicans pick up a seat in Pennsylvania, giving the GOP 13 of the state’s 18 House seats.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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