Reps. Altmire, Critz release dueling TV ads in Pennsylvania

Both candidates' ads are the first of their campaigns, and are positive spots focusing on their own records. Critz's ad touts his work to keep the local Cumberland mine open and calling for more investment in high-tech industry. Altmire's ads tout his local roots and support for Medicare, Social Security and the steel industry, and in one version running on cable in his home county the ad talks about how Altmire was raised by a single mother and was a local high-school football star.

Both ad buys are relatively small, around $70,000 apiece.

The two were thrown together in redistricting by a Republican gerrymander that eliminated Critz's district. Altmire has a geographic advantage, with much more of his old territory in the new district, but many unions have rallied to Critz. Whoever wins the primary will have a slight edge in the general election — the district is a toss-up — but both have shown the ability to win in tough districts.

The primary has at times been testy, with Critz pushing to disqualify Altmire from the ballot and both campaigns crying foul over the other's tactics, but the campaign ads start on a light note.

The primary is on April 24. The Hill rates the race as lean Democratic.