Pennsylvania: Jason Altmire’s Finances Still Ahead of Mark Critz in Primary

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted April 13, 2012 at 12:48pm

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Rep. Jason Altmire maintained his strong financial position over fellow Democratic Rep. Mark Critz in the weeks leading up to their April 24 primary, new fundraising reports show.

While Altmire continued to raise funds at a fast clip, the records show Critz dipped into his own pocket last month for $50,000 to fuel his campaign in the southwestern Pennsylvania 12th district. The two Democrats are locked in the competitive primary for the seat north of Pittsburgh, although Altmire has the geographical and financial edge.

A few takeaways from their financial reports filed Thursday:

  • Altmire boasts a significant money lead in the final weeks. He reported $419,000 in the bank as of April 4, while Critz only had about $232,000 in cash on hand then.
  • Altmire, a traditionally strong fundraiser, brought in more money this year. He raised $330,600 from Jan. 1 through April 4 and then brought in an additional $51,000
    after that. Critz raised about $318,300 — including the five-figure donation from his own wallet — during the pre-primary period, plus about $12,000 after it closed.
  • Altmire spent about $200,000 more than Critz in last three months of the race: $763,400 to $551,600, respectively.
  • Critz loaned his campaign $50,000 on March 26 — a sign his campaign must have needed some serious cash. His campaign also reported owing about $26,000 in vendor debt. Before coming to Congress, Critz was as a staffer for the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) for almost a decade. In an interview with Roll Call on Wednesday, Critz indicated he is not personally wealthy.

What’s more, House Members picked sides between the two Democrats in the past few months, and the paper trail illustrates the divide between Altmire’s friends in Congress (Blue Dog Democrats) and Critz’s allies (old-guard House Democrats):

  • Altmire got donations from the campaigns and PACs of Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike Ross (Ark.), Heath Shuler (N.C.) and Dan Boren (Okla.). Two retired Blue Dog members, ex-Reps. John Tanner (Tenn.) and Bud Cramer (Ala.), also gave to Altmire from their leftover campaign cash.
  • Critz received donations from the campaigns or PACs of Reps. Bob Brady (Pa.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), John Larson (Conn.) and Jim Moran (Va.).