Pennsylvania state elections, 2009

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Pennsylvania held statewide municipal elections on November 3, 2009, to fill a number of judicial positions and to allow judicial retention votes.[1] The necessary primary elections were held on May 19, 2009.[2]

Justice of the Supreme Court[edit]

Voters were asked to fill a single vacancy on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The vacant seat had been occupied by Jane Cutler Greenspan, who had agreed as a condition of her interim appointment in 2008 not to seek a full term on the court. Vying for the seat in the general election were Republican Joan Orie Melvin of Allegheny County and Democrat Jack A. Panella of Northampton County, both of whom were then serving on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.[3] Orie Melvin won the seat with 53 percent of the vote, restoring the 4–3 Republican majority that had existed on the court prior to the 2007 state election.[4] Panella raised $2.4 million for the campaign, compared to $734,000 for Orie Melvin.[5] Low voter turnout, especially in Panella's native Philadelphia, played a key role in Orie Melvin's victory.[5]


Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, 2009[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joan Orie Melvin 946,121 53.3%
Democratic Jack A. Panella 830,277 46.7%
Totals 1,776,398 100%

Judge of the Superior Court[edit]

Four seats on the Superior Court were up for grabs. On the ballot in the general election were four Republicans, four Democrats, and one Libertarian.

Republican candidate Judy Olson won the most votes, followed by fellow Republicans Sallie Mundy and Paula Ott. There was a four-way near tie for fourth place, with Democrat Anne E. Lazarus in the lead (with 11.5% of the vote) but closely trailed by Democrat Robert J. Colville (11.4%), Republican Temp Smith (11.4%), and Democrat Kevin Francis McCarthy (11.3%). The close results triggered an optional automatic recount. While candidates Colville and McCarthy opted out of the recount, Smith declined to do so, prompting Secretary of State Pedro Cortés to order a recount to begin on November 18—the first automatic statewide recount in Pennsylvania history.[6] On December 1, the Pennsylvania Department of State announced that the recount had been completed, with the results essentially unchanged; Lazarus won the fourth seat.[7] The cost of the recount was $542,000.[8]

Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 2009[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Judy Olson 954,065 15.1%
Republican Sallie Mundy 870,091 13.7%
Republican Paula Ott 807,328 12.7%
Democratic Anne E. Lazarus 726,917 11.5%
Democratic Robert J. Colville 724,830 11.4%
Republican Temp Smith 723,117 11.4%
Democratic Kevin Francis McCarthy 714,237 11.3%
Democratic Teresa Sarmina 690,682 10.9%
Libertarian Marakay J. Rogers 127,492 2.0%
Totals 6,338,759 100%

Judge of the Commonwealth Court[edit]

There were two open seats on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The Candidates in the General Election were selected in the Pennsylvania Municipal Primary Election which was held May 19, 2009. The two leading Republican candidates in the Primary were Patricia A. McCullough (36.2%) and Kevin Brobson (35.9%), followed by Al Frioni (27.9%). The two leading Democratic candidates were Barbara Behrend Ernsberger (22.0%) and Linda Judson (21.1%) followed by Jimmy Lynn (15.3%) Michael Sherman (14.9%) Stephen Pollok (13.5%) and Daniel Brickmont (13.3%).[9] The General Election was held on Tuesday November 3, 2009.

Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2009[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Patricia A. McCullough 900,666 28.1%
Republican Kevin Brobson 836,511 26.1%
Democratic Linda S. Judson 738,452 23.1%
Democratic Barbara Behrend Ernsberger 726,431 22.7%
Totals 3,202,060 100%

Judge of the Superior Court retention[edit]

Voters elected to retain Judge Kate Ford Elliott on the Superior Court.

Retention of Judge Kate Ford Elliott[1]
Candidate Votes Percentage
Yes 963,309 68.8%
No 436,159 31.2%
Total votes 1,399,468 100%

Judge of the Commonwealth Court retention[edit]

Voters elected to retain Judge Dan Pellegrini on the Commonwealth Court.

Retention of Judge Dan Pellegrini[1]
Candidate Votes Percentage
Yes 939,019 67.2%
No 457,957 32.8%
Total votes 1,396,976 100%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "2009 Municipal Election". Pennsylvania Department of State. 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ "2009 Municipal Primary". Pennsylvania Department of State. 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  3. ^ Jackson, Peter (November 1, 2009). "Pa. high court candidates have contrasting styles". The Mercury (Pottstown). Associated Press. Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  4. ^ O'Brien, John (November 3, 2009). "Republicans gain majority on Pa. SC". Legal Newsline (Chicago). Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Philly apathy pays off". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. November 8, 2009. "After all, she owes her seat on the high court largely to the incredible voter apathy displayed last Tuesday in the City of Brotherly Love." 
  6. ^ "Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortés Orders Recount in Close Superior Court Election" (PDF) (Press release). Pennsylvania Department of State. November 13, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Recount in Close Superior Court Election Confirms Original Winner" (PDF) (Press release). Pennsylvania Department of State. December 1, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  8. ^ Worden, Amy (May 26, 2011). "PA counties prepare recount for judicial race". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 2, 2011. "The last statewide recount - in a November 2009 contest for Superior Court race - cost the state $542,000." 
  9. ^ http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionsInformation.aspx?FunctionID=13&ElectionID=30&OfficeID=10