----------PAST KEY RACES----------
2010: Governor | Senate | PA-3 | PA-4 | PA-6 | PA-7 | PA-8 | PA-10 | PA-11 | PA-12 | PA-13 | PA-15 | PA-17
2008: President | PA-3 | PA-10 | PA-11
2006: Senate | Governor | PA-4 | PA-6 | PA-7 | PA-8 | PA-10
2004: President | Senate | PA-13
Like most of the Pennsylvania districts, the 12th somewhat defies description. Johnstown is the historic heart of the district, but instead of gravitating southward and westward toward the mountainous corner of the state -- filled with blue-collar and Jacksonian Democrats -- the reapportioned district moves north and west, toward the Pittsburgh suburbs.
The result is that the 12th has been combined with the historically Republican 4th District, giving it a heavily red cast. The change also placed two Democrats in the same district: Mark Critz, who won a special election in the 12th in mid-2010, and Jason Altmire, who had picked up the 4th in 2006 (he defeated Melissa Hart, who complained about campaigning because it distracted her from drumming lessons).
Republicans were pleased when Critz defeated the more moderate Altmire in the primary. Critz must now hold the district against attorney Keith Rothfus. Polling has been sparse, although Critz has been able to produce internals showing him up by a substantial amount.