Altmire vs Critz - The Show Down in Coal Town

Apr 19, 2012 - OPINION
Congressman Jason Altmire has been in office since 2007. Since that time, he has voted with the majority of Republicans 57.5% of the time and voted with the majority of Democrats 81.1% of the time. He has not been particularly vocal on any given subject, and has not been involved in any significant controversies.
Congressman Mark Critz was elected in a special election in 2010 and then immediately had to address the 2010 general election. Since coming into office, he has voted with the majority Republicans 44.1% of the time, and voted with the majority of Democrats 75.2% of the time. There isn't much of a record for him, as he hasn't been in office long enough to establish a history. He has not been involved in any controversies.
There isn't a great deal of difference in the positions of the two men and both are fairly conservative for Democrats. This has made it difficult for the two to run against each other, lending a lot of credence to endorsements. In the beginning of the election, Congressman Altmire had the advantage with more name recognition and money. However, Congressman Critz has recently been endorsed by President Clinton, making the race a lot more interesting.

Social Issues

Neither man has been vocal on marriage, and both claim to be pro-life. However, Critz is more articulate in his support for life and the exemptions for rape and incest. He has also co-sponsored the Protect Life Act and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Congressman Altmire has claimed to be pro-life and his record is somewhat supportive of that statement. However, both Critz and Altmire voted against legislation to strip Planned Parenthood of funding. Congressman Altmire took some heat for a mailer he sent out during the campaign in which he accused Critz of participating in an extremist battle to strip women's rights.

Workers - Trade, China, and Unions

Both men have solid records of standing up for American workers' rights with respect to free trade agreements and attempting to reign in China. They both supported addressing Chinese currency manipulation and unfair trade practices. Both men support the Employee Free Choice Act, but Critz is being supported by the SEIU and other unions.


Neither man has a good record in terms of liberty and freedom as they both voted in favor of the 2012 NDAA, which allows for the arrest and indefinite detention of US citizens. Congressman Altmire has stated that he opposes the SOPA legislation, but that has not been tested yet.

The Economy

Congressman has no real record yet, due to just entering Congress. However, Congressman Altmire has supported both the Bush stimulus and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He also voted against the TARP legislation, a factor he has yet to tout in the primary.
There has been some difference in these two men in terms of debt and spending. Congressman Altmire broke with the majority of Democrats and supported a balanced budget amendment. Congressman Critz opposed the amendment on the grounds that it place entitlements in danger and would harm the economy.


Again, Critz has no real record on immigration. However, Altmire has a solid record of supporting valid US laws and opposing amnesty and benefits for illegal aliens.

Health Care

Finally, there is health care. Congressman Altmire voted against the Obamacare package of legislation in both its initial passage and the reconciliation passage. He was one of only 33 Democrats to do this and one of only 11 of those that remain in Congress. However, Congressman Altmire opposed the legislation to repeal the reform, stating that its benefits outweighted its problems. Congressman Critz also opposed the repeal, but has not been vocal in his support for the reform.

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