The Commonwealth Court hearing on the Critz campaign's challenge of fellow Democrat Jason Altmire's 12th congressional district nomination petitions has been set: it will be held in Pittsburgh at 9:30 a.m., Friday, March 2, in the court's chamber on Grant Street.

The Altmire campaign has said nothing about the suit since issuing a no-comment Tuesday night.

UPDATE 1:20 PM: Altmire's campaign manager Angela Ruslander released a statement calling the petition challenge "a desperate attack from a desperate campaign" and "a despicable act."

In full:

"After reviewing the baseless challenge to my campaign's nominating petitions, the facts are as clear today as they were when the petitions were filed -- we have met the required threshold of 1000 valid signatures to appear on the primary ballot. We knew this when my campaign filed the petitions, and we know it now after reviewing the politically motivated complaint filed by my challenger from Johnstown.

Make no mistake, this challenge is a desperate attack from a desperate campaign. Trailing by double-digits even in his own polling and at 2-1 disadvantage in campaign funding, Mark Critz has now lowered himself to try to win an election by invalidating the legitimate signatures of voters, including many of his own current constituents. This is a despicable act designed to disenfranchise the new 12th district voters by denying them the opportunity to simply have a choice on the ballot."

UPDATE 3PM: Critz campaign manager Mike Mikus responds:

“The problem with Washington is that too many politicians like Jason Altmire have a sense of entitlement. Everyone knows the rules to get on the ballot and those rules even apply to Members of Congress like Jason Altmire.

The evidence shows that petitions were likely forged and petitions were circulated by ineligible circulators, among other violations. Instead of issuing over the top public statements, perhaps Congressman Altmire should be explaining why his campaign failed to follow the law.”

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