Murtha seat: Hafer clears way for Critz

Former Pennsylvania state Treasurer Barbara Hafer has pulled out of the Democratic primary for the late Rep. John Murtha's (D-Pa.) seat.

Hafer lost the nomination for the special election on Monday but had pledged to contest the general election, which will hold its primary the same day -- May 18 -- as the special election.

She's out, but she didn't go quietly. She raised myriad questions about former Murtha district director Mark Critz in the hours before and after he was handed the nomination, and Republicans are likely to pick up on those attacks if they go after Murtha's seat.

Hafer's tirade was met with a stern rebuke from state Democratic Party Chairman T.J. Rooney on Tuesday. She announced her withdrawal Wednesday morning.

Her statement follows: "Today I am announcing I am withdrawing my petitions and will not be seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the U.S. House in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district.  We had a spirited campaign for who would make the best nominee in the special election, but in the spirit of Jack Murtha I believe now is not the time to continue this race. I look forward to finding other ways to continue to serve the public and change this state and this country for the better."