House Democratic leaders were all smiles Wednesday, telling reporters that despite spending less money than the competition, their candidate and message came out on top in yet another special election contest. Democrat Mark Critz defeated Republican Tim Burns Tuesday night to take the open seat in Pennsylvania’s 12th district once held by Critz’s boss, the late Rep. John Murtha.
The win makes Democrats seven for seven this session.
“It’s a great victory in a district where (Republicans) spent extraordinary sums of money,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
“You know we have a perfect record in special elections,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reminded the press.
Speaker Pelosi conceded that Critz is more conservative than many members of the Democratic caucus. However, she said he is supportive of the Democratic agenda noting that, “He embraced the Democratic message on Medicare, on Social Security, and on jobs.” She referred to him as a “strong blue collar Democrat,” who will be welcomed in the caucus.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the man in charge of getting Democrats elected to the House, said that while Critz focused on the issues, Republicans tried to make the election a referendum on President Obama and Speaker Pelosi.
“They were very clear that this was a test run of their strategy in November, and the results speak for themselves,” Van Hollen charged, “That strategy clearly failed.”
The Democrats now head towards the midterm elections with a sense of momentum that they haven’t felt in a while, “Democrats are not only not on the run,” Hoyer declared, “but are on the offense.”