It was a tense evening in the North Hills as early returns showed incumbent Democrat Mark Critz with a commanding lead over North Hills businessman Keith Rothfus. That lead began to tighten and eventually Rothfus surpassed Critz. The newly-elected Congressman commended his opponent and said going forward he has some big shoes to fill.
“We have been represented in the North Hills in Beaver County, Lawrence County, in parts of Westmoreland County by Congressman Jason Altmire for the last six years, we’ve been represented over in Cambria and Somerset Counties by Congressman Critz, both who have worked very hard for their constituents and I will seek to emulate the efforts they made with their constituents,” said Rothfus.
The newly-redrawn district runs from Beaver County in the west, through the North Hills of Allegheny County, and stretches all the way out to Cambria and Somerset Counties in the east.
The district has been in Democratic hands since late Congressman Jack Murtha took office in the 1970s. Rothfus attributed his win to the hard work of his volunteers and to the right message.
“Frankly people in this part of the state are very concerned about the war on coal, concerned about stifling energy development. Cheap energy is the key to jobs, we’ve gotta get the country moving again and we’ve gotta educate the president on those messages,” he said.
Rothfus also outlined his continued desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a feat which will be much more difficult with the re-election of President Obama. Rothfus said other issues he wants to tackle include the deficit, the economy, and the role of government. But, he said he is looking forward to working with the president and fellow lawmakers in Washington.
During his campaign, Rothfus painted himself as the outside candidate, while painting Critz as a career politician. Rothfus said even though he’s been elected to political office, he will not become a career politician – he vowed to term limit himself.
“I think six terms is absolutely more than enough time, 12 years is a long time, if I last that long,” he said, “I think you have to go in there with a certain sense that you’re not going to be there forever and certainly I’m not intending on being there forever.”