Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa., has defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire in Pennsylvania's 12th District primary.
Critz's campaign confirmed that Altmire called to concede the race after 10 p.m. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, Critz led Altmire 52 percent to 48 percent.
Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled legislature drew Altmire and Critz together after the state lost one seat in the decennial reapportionment process. Altmire began the race at an advantage, with nearly two-thirds of the 12th District's residents coming from his old constituency, while Critz brought fewer of his old voters -- just under 30 percent -- from his old district. But Critz closed the gap thanks to heavy support from organized labor, which cooled to Altmire after he voted against the Democratic health care reform plan in 2010.
That support from labor groups, which boosted Critz with volunteer campaign help and over $83,000 on independent expenditures, allowed Critz to cut into Altmire's base of support in the populous western portion of the district.
Critz's victory also keeps Johnstown, his hometown, the unofficial capital of the 12th District. Johnstown has sent a resident to Congress continuously since just after World War II, and no Johnstown congressman has lost an election since 1948; the previous two, Republican John Saylor and Democrat John Murtha, Critz's old boss, each served utnil they died in office, in 1973 and 2010, respectively.
Altmire is the fifth House member to lose a primary this year. Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Don Manzullo, R-Ill., were eliminated by House colleagues in member-versus-member races, and Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, lost her renomination bid to a tea party-affiliated candidate. Earlier Tuesday night, Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa., lost his 17th District Democratic primary to attorney Matt Cartwright.
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