Pennsylvania to settle close races for judge, county control
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s municipal elections Tuesday feature two statewide appellate judge seats, as well as some potential firsts in local races.
On statewide ballots, Republicans and Democrats are vying for two open seats on the statewide appellate Superior Court. The 15-seat court handles civil and criminal appeals from Pennsylvania’s county courts.
Judges serve 10-year terms and run for reelection in up-or-down retention races. The court currently has eight Republicans and six Democrats, with one Republican not running for another term.
The Democrats are Amanda Green-Hawkins, a longtime steelworkers’ union lawyer from Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia Judge Daniel McCaffery. The Republicans are Megan King, a Chester County prosecutor, and Cumberland County Judge Christylee Peck.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There’s also a statewide referendum on writing specific rights for crime victims into the state constitution, although it’s being challenged in the courts.
Philadelphia’s Democratic mayor, Jim Kenney, is all-but assured of a second four-year term in charge of the nation’s sixth largest city. Kenney had an eventful first term, from antagonizing President Donald Trump over Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status to carrying through on his top first-term priority, a tax on soda and other sweetened beverages.
Allegheny County’s executive, Rich Fitzgerald, is expected to win another term in the state’s second-most populous county.
Reading, Pennsylvania’s fifth-most populous city, is poised to elect its first Latino mayor. Democrat Eddie Moran is an insurance agent who also serves on the school board in a city where almost two-thirds of the residents are Latino, according to census data.
In Allentown, Pennsylvania’s third-most populous city, Republican Tim Ramos and Democrat Ray O’Connell are vying to fill the remaining two years in the term of Ed Pawlowski, a Democrat who was sentenced to prison last year in a corruption case.
Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to take control in more of the counties surrounding Philadelphia.
Democrats haven’t had control of the Delaware County Council since at least the Civil War, while they last had control of Bucks County’s board of commissioners for four years in the 1980s.
Long a bastion of Republican support, both counties are becoming increasingly liberal, a trend that has accelerated since Trump’s election as president.