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His tenure in the U.S. House is not even a week old, but Rep. Mark Critz, D-Murtha, is being thrust into the spotlight by Democratic leaders eager to show his campaign is a roadmap to success in the fall. CQ's Kate Hunter -- a fellow proud Tar Heel grad -- writes that Critz has gotten plum committee assignments, participated in a jobs-related press call with top Dems and even scored a White House invite.

Democratic leaders have tapped newly elected Rep. Mark Critz as the poster child for their election-year slogan — “jobs, jobs, jobs” — and are working hard to get the Pennsylvania rookie as much exposure as possible on the issue. ...

Critz’s race had high stakes for both parties: Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer dispatched three staff members to the Pennsylvania Democrat’s district for four days this month to help make a last-minute push for his bid. The Maryland Democrat’s move is particularly notable since Hoyer shunned financial support for Murtha’s campaign in 2008 when the powerful chairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee — who had challenged Hoyer for the majority leader post two years earlier — was in the toughest re-election battle of his career.

From a leadership standpoint, placing Critz in the limelight on the extenders bill and other jobs measures could serve dual purposes: providing the freshman with a boost in advance of his November rematch against Republican Tim Burns while also helping the Caucus garner additional support for the measure from vulnerable Democrats reassured by Critz’s win.

“He is a great example to all of our members of how when they are focusing on their community and they are focusing on jobs and the economy, then they can win,” a Democratic leadership aide said, adding that job creation is a “salient message” for Democrats right now.

“He is seen as somebody who can effectively convey that message,” the aide said. “Members would certainly value hearing from him since he has just gone through it.”

You can read Kate's full story here.

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