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Critz confident despite latest numbers

| Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 8:20 p.m.

The day that published poll results showed him slightly behind his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Mark Critz told a crowd at a United Steelworkers rally that GOP efforts to oust him from office won't succeed.

“You know what I say? Bring it on,” Critz, 50, D-Johnstown, told a crowd of about 75 union members and guests at a rally on Saturday inside the lobby of the union's Downtown headquarters.

Critz was one of three Democratic congressional candidates attending, along with Rep. Mike Doyle, who is seeking re-election in the 14th District against Republican challenger Hans Lessmann, and Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, who wants to unseat Rep. Tim Murphy in the 18th District.

As one man greeted Critz before the rally and asked how he was doing, Critz replied, “I'm getting my brains bashed in, but I'm still standing.”

A Tribune-Review poll conducted Oct. 1 and 2 by Susquehanna Polling & Research showed 45 percent of likely voters backing Rothfus, 50, of Sewickley and 43 percent supporting Critz. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.18 percent.

Critz noted a Sept. 28 Bloomberg report that said the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent more than $1 million against him through Sept. 25, and is flooding the airwaves with ad spots.

Critz, who succeeded the late Rep. John Murtha, called Rothfus, “a straight down-the-line Tea Party Republican,” adding that he believes Rothfus wants to eliminate Medicare.

Responded Rothfus campaign manager Jon Raso in a statement, “Keith is absolutely dedicated to saving and strengthening Medicare; Congressman Critz is the only one in this race who voted to cut Medicare by $716 billion just to pay for Obamacare.”

Much of Saturday's rally focused on re-electing President Obama, with international president Leo Gerard rallying union members before they went door to door through area neighborhoods to talk about candidates.

“I can't imagine what this country would look like if on Nov. 7 we had a Romney presidency,” Gerard said, “a (John) Boehner majority in the House, and Mitch McConnell majority in the Senate.”

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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