If outside spending is any indication of how close a race is, the 12th District may be a dead heat.
As of Friday outside groups — organizations independent from a candidate's campaign — had spent a total of $7,950,428 to support or oppose either Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, or his Republican challenger Keith Rothfus, Sewickley.
The 12th District ranks 12th overall nationally — including the presidential and Senate races — in outside spending.
Only a House race in Ohio has prompted more spending. More than $8 million has been spent in the 16th District of Ohio. Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci is being challenged by Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton. Redistricting there has forced a battle of incumbents.
In the 12th District race $333,145 has been spent for Democrats and $4,080,638 against Democrats. There has been $1,249,684 spent for Republicans while $2,286,961 has been spent against Republicans, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website created by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics to track federal campaign contributions.
Rothfus spokesman Tom Doheny said the campaigns are on a sprint to the finish.
"The polls and fundraising, all the numbers, are showing Keith Rothfus surging with momentum," he said. "It's no surprise that there is a lot of increased interest in the race from both sides. People are excited about Keith's message and excited to take southwestern Pennsylvania back from the influence of President Obama and his policies and his ally and supporter Mark Critz."
Doheny said that people who know Rothfus are able to separate the man from the negative campaign ads.
"Everybody that knows Keith, everybody who met Keith, knows he is a regular guy. He's a lovable, normal guy," he said.
He added that many advertisements by outside groups use the same message but change the name of the candidate involved.