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The Battle for America 2010: A Barnburner of a Race in Pennsylvania 12

A rematch from last year's special election to fill the seat of the late John Murtha between GOP hopeful Tim Burns and the incumbent Democrat Mark Critz will turn on jobs and energy issues.

by
Michelle Zehr

Bio

August 24, 2010 - 12:01 am
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The hotly contested rematch in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District between Republican Tim Burns and incumbent Democrat Mark Critz promises to go down to the wire as both candidates are pulling out all the stops to get them across the finish line to victory.

The special election held earlier this year — made necessary by the death of longtime Representative John Murtha — was a big spending event for both national parties. In addition, big-name political leaders from across the country stopped by to help their candidates campaign. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) backed Burns, while former President Clinton and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) made an appearance on the campaign trail for Critz.

The conclusion of this special election ultimately led to a trip to Washington, D.C., for Mark Critz. In D.C., Critz was sworn into office by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California). The late Murtha was a Pelosi acolyte and one of her most loyal supporters in the House which is ironic considering that Tim Burns may just be one of Pelosi’s biggest opponents. The special election was turned into a race about Pelosi. Burns often featured Pelosi in his television campaign advertisements. “If Nancy Pelosi’s values are your values, then Mark Critz is your candidate,” was the general theme of the Burns campaign.

John Murtha (D) may have been reelected with ease for most of his 36 years spent in the U.S. Congress, but things are changing in western Pennsylvania. Republicans have won state Senate and state House seats that previously belonged to the Democratic Party. Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District holds the lone distinction of voting John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. This is a district full of surprises.

Despite his strong ties to Pelosi, Critz will not be a Pelosi puppett. Critz is an abortion opponent and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Last summer, the House approved a controversial climate change bill which Critz said he would have voted against. Climate change and energy issues are two vital issues in southwestern Pennsylvania, which is home to two of the world’s largest coal mines.

Tim Burns, a newcomer to politics who does not consider himself to be a politician, attributes his interest in Congress to the tea party movement and had planned on facing off against Murtha prior to his death.

Burns sees his battle against Critz as a referendum on President Obama and believes this year’s election is seen as a referendum on the Obama-Pelosi agenda.

In an interview with PJ Media, Burns made it very clear that he will vote to repeal President Obama’s health care reform bill:

The health care takeover is a disaster, even by Washington’s low standards. Its crippling tax hikes and government mandates will have disastrous results for businesses large and small, and will ultimately cost us thousands of jobs. In Washington, I’ll work to de-fund and repeal the health care bill to get to work on a solution that will drive down health care costs by empowering patients and doctors, not bureaucrats.

Burns plans on working to pass common sense health care reform. This plan will lower health care costs and help to improve access to health care without putting a strain on the economy. Critz believes that the health care reform bill can use some tweaking. However, his theory revolves around the idea that what is done is done. Repealing and redoing the health care reform act is not the way to go. It’s easier to move forward from where we are today.

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