Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, issued the following statement about the special election in Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district.
(read the full statement after the jump)
(CNN) – CNN projects that Democrat Mark Critz has topped Republican Tim Burns in a special election to fill the late Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha's U.S. House seat.
(CNN) – Democrat Mark Critz had an early lead in Tuesday's special election to fill the House seat of the late Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha.
With 21 percent of precincts reporting, Critz had 58 percent of the vote. Republican businessman and first-time politician Tim Burns had 39.9 percent.
Murtha died in February, prompting the special election.
Critz worked for Murtha and had said he'd continue Murtha's legacy if elected.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/17/art.murtha.file.gi.jpg caption="The contest for John Murtha's seat remains up in the air."](CNN) - Keep your eyes on southwestern Pennsylvania. While it's being overshadowed by higher-profile Senate primaries, a special election Tuesday for a House seat that represents that part of the state has drawn national attention and could have national implications.
And while the winners in the Senate primaries move onto the general election in November, the victor in this contest goes directly to Congress.
Republican Tim Burns is battling Democrat Mark Critz to fill the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha.
The race has stepped up in intensity over the past month, with both campaigns as well as national party committees going up with television ads.