Two Incumbents Lose in Pennsylvania Primaries

By Karen Cross, National Right to Life Political Director

Pro-life attorney Keith Rothfus (R) will challenge Rep. Mark Critz (D)

While pro-life Mitt Romney’s sweep of five states drew most of the attention, last night Pennsylvania also held congressional primaries to determine party nominees for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

In a five-way Republican primary race to run against incumbent Senator Bob Casey, pro-life businessman Tom Smith prevailed, winning 39.5% of the vote.  Smith will challenge Senator Casey (D) who has a mixed voting record (44%), according to National Right to Life.

The day’s dynamics were a reflection of the once-per-decade redistricting process, which cost Pennsylvania one congressional seat. In the newly drawn 12th District two incumbent Democrats squared off: Mark Critz and Jason Altmire.  Critz won the hotly contested race, 51% to 49%.  

Critz, who has a mixed record with National Right to Life in the 112th Congress (57%), will face pro-life attorney Keith Rothfus (R) in the general.

Rep. Tim Holden, Pennsylvania’s longest-serving congressman who had a mixed voting record, lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary to attorney Matt Cartwright in the 17th congressional district, 57% to 43%. Cartwright will face Republican pro-life nurse and businesswoman Laureen Cummings  in November.

Pro-Life Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) addressed attendees during 2010 NRLC Convention

In Pennsylvania’s fourth congressional district, pro-life state Rep. Scott Perry (R) will face pro-abortion businessman Harry Perkinson (D).

And in the 18th  congressional district, pro-life Rep. Tim Murphy (R) held off a challenge by pro-life former congressional aide Evan Feinberg, 64% to 36%. Murphy will face County Commissioner Larry Maggi (D)

Thus far, six states have held congressional primaries to determine their party’s nominees for the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. The next batch will be held in May. Congressional primaries will be held in nine states: Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and West Virginia.

Your feedback is very important to improving National Right to Life News Today. Please send your comments to If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at