Pennsylvania’s municipal election results on Tuesday showed a major all-Democratic sweep for positions on the state’s courts, as well as in Philadelphia, where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by a substantial margin.
Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty and Superior Court Judges David Wecht and Christine Donohue of Allegheny County were elected justices of the Supreme Court in a seven-way race. Also elected to appellate positions were Alice Dubow as Superior Court Judge and Michael Wojcik as Judge of the Commonwealth Court — all Democrats.
"The people of Pennsylvania are entitled to justices who are actually focused on law, and not on other stuff," Wecht, referring to recent scandals concerning judicial officials, said.
The three open slots in the Commonwealth’s court system are pivotal for issues such as redistricting, gun control, education funding and voter identification — all topics currently dominating state news. Statewide, of the $11.5 million contributed to the seven candidates, Democrats raised three times as much as Republicans.
"It's such a humbling experience," Donohue said, stating that she was impressed by the unity of the Democratic contingent. The new justices will be sworn in sometime in early January.
From westernmost Beaver and Butler Counties to Berks and Bucks Counties on the state’s eastern end, the statewide trend was largely Democratic. As polls closed, Philadelphia residents ushered in heavily favored Democratic candidate Jim Kenney for mayor. Incumbent Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter was not eligible to run for re-election for a third consecutive term because the city's home-rule charter imposes term limits.
Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Philadelphia by 7-to-1, giving Democratic candidates the edge in local elections.