(WHTM) – Pennsylvania voters have selected the two candidates who will face off in November’s Pennsylvania Justice of the Supreme Court election.
According to the Associated Press, Daniel McCaffery has won the Democratic primary race, while Republican Carolyn Carluccio has won the GOP nomination.
McCaffrey was endorsed by the state Democratic Party when he was elected to a 10-year term on the state Superior Court in 2019. He was endorsed as the party nominee for the supreme court seat in January 2023.
A former assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, he ran for district attorney in 2009 and lost in the primary. He also ended a brief candidacy for state attorney general in 2012 before winning a race for a Common Pleas Court judge position in Philadelphia.
McCaffrey served in the Army and received his law degree from Temple University.
Carluccio, Montgomery County’s president judge and the party-endorsed candidate, won the two-way race. She defeated Patricia McCullough, a Commonwealth Court judge who lost a primary for a high court seat in 2021, after party allies reported spending nearly $1 million to help her beat McCullough.
On the campaign trail, McCullough repeatedly boasted of being the “only judge in 2020 in the presidential election in the entire country” to order a halt to her state’s election certification.
Judicial elections in Pennsylvania occur in odd-numbered years to 10 year terms. They may hold an unlimited number of terms until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 75.
A seat has remained open on the Supreme Court after the death last year of Chief Justice Max Baer, who was months away from the mandatory retirement age of 75.
The court has handled a number of hot-button issues over the past few years.
It is currently examining a challenge to a state law that restricts the use of public funds to help women get an abortion as well as Philadelphia’s challenge to a state law that bars it and other municipalities from restricting the sale and possession of guns.
In recent years, the justices rejected a request to invalidate the state’s death penalty law and upheld the constitutionality of the state’s expansive mail-in voting law. The court also turned away challenges to the 2020 election result from Republicans who wanted to keep former President Donald Trump in power, and ruled on a variety of lawsuits over gray areas in the mail-in voting law.
In one 2020 election case, justices ordered counties to count mail-in ballots that arrived up to three days after polls closed, citing delays in mail service caused by disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling spurred an outcry among Republicans, who challenged the decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nation’s highest court ultimately declined to take the case. The ballots — nearly 10,000 of them — were never counted in any federal race, including for president, because the election was certified while their fate remained in legal limbo. State elections officials said the votes weren’t enough to change the results of a federal election.
In lower court races, Republican Megan Martin won a two-way primary for an open seat on the Commonwealth Court while Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane captured the nomination in a three-way race for two open seats on the Superior Court, which hears appeals of civil and criminal cases from county courts.
Here is a list of candidates who appeared on the Department of State’s list of candidates for the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court.
Pennsylvania Superior Court judge Deborah Kunselman announced on December 1, 2022, that she will run for an open seat on the state Supreme Court in next November’s election.
Kunselman was endorsed in the primary by the Democratic Party when she ran for the Superior Court in 2017.
Kunselman graduated from Notre Dame’s law school and worked as a civil litigator for 13 years, including eight as the chief solicitor for Beaver County, before becoming the first woman elected as a Beaver County judge in 2005.
Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Daniel McCaffery announced his candidacy for the state Supreme Court in November 2022.
Carolyn Carluccio, the president judge of Montgomery County Court, announced her candidacy for a 10-year term on the state’s highest court. She was first elected to her current post in 2009.
Carluccio is a former federal prosecutor and chief public defender of Montgomery County. She got her law degree from Widener University’s Delaware Law School and was endorsed by the Pennsylvania Republican party in the 2023 election.
Patricia McCullough, a judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, was approved by the Department of State to appear on the 2023 primary ballot for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
McCullough previously ran for the state’s highest court and lost the Republican primary in May 2021 to Kevin Brobson. She was elected to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in 2009 for a term that runs through December 2029.
McCullough attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1981 and had a private law practice from 1991-2004. She was appointed to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in 2005 and served as the Executive Director of the Catholic Charities Diocese of Pittsburgh for two years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report