Congressman Mark Critz (D-12th) has won the endorsement of the United Steelworkers in the Democratic primary race for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District.
The union backing is a plus for Critz, who faces a tough battle against fellow incumbent Congressman Jason Altmire (D-4th). The two were pitted against one another when Altmire's territory was combined with that of Critz in the 2011 congressional redistricting process.
USW International President Leo Gerard said the union didn't directly compare the policy positions of the two candidates before endorsing Critz.
"We know that Mark Critz has stayed true to every commitment he's ever made to us," said Gerard. "We know that we didn't have to go knock on his door for support, whether it was any trade issue, any health care issue, or any issue like that."
Gerard said the local union presidents unanimously support Critz in his bid for reelection.
Critz said he's humbled by the endorsement, and said he'll support the working class.
"When it comes to trade deals, foreign trade deals, you don't have to call me twice," said Critz. "I look to see what it means to the middle class, and to working men and women, and to the people that are important to me."
The Johnstown Democrat may need the union support in the primary battle; he lagged sixteen points behind three-term veteran Altmire in a recent poll by Anzalone-Liszt. Critz has served two years in Congress after winning a special election to fill the seat of the late John Murtha.
Whichever Democrat wins the April 24 primary will likely face state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-McCandless) in the general election.