Pennsylvania state elections, 2011

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Pennsylvania held statewide elections on November 8, 2011, to fill judicial positions and allow judicial retention votes. The necessary primary elections were held on May 17, 2011.[1]

Judge of the Superior Court[edit]

There was one vacancy to fill on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. The seat being vacated is currently held by Robert A. Freedberg, who decided not to run in the election because he would face mandatory retirement due to his age in three years.[2]

Primary campaign[edit]

Vic Stabile, a partner in a Harrisburg law firm, and Paula A. Patrick, a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, faced off for the Republican nomination.[3] Both candidates received a rating of "recommended" from the Pennsylvania Bar Association.[4] Stabile won the endorsement of the Republican State Committee.[5] The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also endorsed Stabile for the Republican nomination.[3] The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Patrick.[6]

On the Democratic side, David N. Wecht, currently a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, was the only candidate to file; therefore he ran unopposed in the Democratic primary election.[3] He received a rating of "highly recommended" from the Pennsylvania Bar Association.[4]

The election was held on May 17, 2011. Stabile won the Republican primary, receiving 378,566 votes (65.3%) against Patrick's 200,856 (34.7%). Wecht received 605,665 votes (100.0%).[7]

Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 2011: Republican primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Vic Stabile 378,566 65.3
Republican Paula A. Patrick 200,856 34.7
Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 2011: Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic David Wecht 605,665 100.0

General election[edit]

Stabile and Wecht faced each other in the general election. Wecht was endorsed in the general election by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which both cited his judicial experience.[8][9] Stabile was endorsed by The Patriot-News, which cited his "down-to-earth approach".[10]

In the general election on November 8, Wecht won the seat with 1,029,560 votes (54.5%) against Stabile's 859,687 (45.5%).[11]

Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 2011
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic David Wecht 1,029,560 54.5
Republican Vic Stabile 859,687 45.5

Judge of the Commonwealth Court[edit]

There was one vacancy on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The seat to be vacated is currently held by Johnny Butler, who decided not to run in the election.[5]

Primary campaign[edit]

Anne Covey, a private attorney, and Paul P. Panepinto, a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, contended for the Republican nomination.[12] They received bar association ratings of "recommended" and "highly recommended", respectively.[13] Covey won the endorsement of the Republican State Committee.[5] Covey was also endorsed for the Republican nomination by both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.[6][12]

Kathryn Boockvar, an attorney who most recently worked for the Advancement Project and had previously spent 11 years in private practice, and Barbara Behrend Ernsberger, who has spent her career in private practice, competed for the Democratic nomination.[12] Boockvar received a rating of "recommended" from the Pennsylvania Bar Association; Ernsberger received a rating of "not recommended" because she did not participate in the bar association evaluation process.[13] Boockvar won the endorsement of the Democratic State Committee.[12] The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also endorsed Boockvar for the Democratic nomination.[6][12]

In the election on May 17, 2011, Covey received 406,764 votes (70.3%) and Panepinto received 171,996 (29.7%).[7] The Democratic race was much closer: the initial results showed that Boockvar had received 311,624 votes (50.2%) and Ernsberger had received 309,508 (49.8%).[7] Because the margin was less than half of a percent, these results triggered a recount, mandatory unless waived by the trailing candidate.[14] Ernsberger declined to waive her right to a recount.[14] On June 8, 2011, the Secretary of the Commonwealth announced that the recount had confirmed Boockvar's victory.[15] The figures were nearly the same; in the final tally, Boockvar had 311,732 votes (50.2%) and Ernsberger had 309,680 (49.8%).[15]

Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2011: Republican primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Anne Covey 406,764 70.3
Republican Paul P. Panepinto 171,996 29.7
Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2011: Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathryn Boockvar 311,732 50.2
Democratic Barbara Behrend Ernsberger 309,680 49.8

General election[edit]

Covey and Boockvar faced each other in the general election. Covey was endorsed in the general election by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which noted her "quasi-judicial experience of having served on the state's labor relations board".[8] Boockvar was endorsed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Patriot-News, which both praised her breadth of experience.[9][16]

In the general election on November 8, Covey won with 978,634 votes (52.4%) against Boockvar's 890,701 (47.6%).[11]

Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 2011
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Anne Covey 978,634 52.4
Democratic Kathryn Boockvar 890,701 47.6

Retention elections[edit]

The following judges were up for retention in the 2011 general election:

The Pennsylvania Bar Association recommended retention of all six judges.[17]

Eakin actively campaigned for retention, raising $526,000—more than any of the four candidates contending for the open seats on the Superior Court and the Commonwealth Court—and airing television advertisements.[18]

In the general election on November 8, voters elected to retain all six judges. All the judges won their retention elections by a wide margin; each of them was favored for retention by over 70% of voters.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2011 Election Calendar". Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of State. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ Jackson, Peter (February 3, 2011). "2 Pa. appellate court openings attract interest". Lebanon Daily News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Stabile for the GOP: He is the party's better choice for Superior Court". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 1, 2011. p. B-2. 
  4. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission 2011 Superior Court Candidate Ratings". Pennsylvania Bar Association. 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Pennsylvania Republicans endorse judicial candidates". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. February 13, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Inquirer Editorial: Judicial selections". The Philadelphia Inquirer. May 2, 2011. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "2011 Municipal Primary". Pennsylvania Department of State. 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Inquirer Editorial: Good candidates among judicial choices". Philadelphia Inquirer. October 30, 2011. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Judicial verdict: Wecht and Boockvar for the appellate courts". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 24, 2011. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Superior Court: Stabile is our choice with down-to-earth approach". The Patriot-News. October 30, 2011. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c "2011 Municipal Election". Pennsylvania Department of State. 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Boockvar, Panepinto: Each rates a party nod for Commonwealth Court". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 1, 2011. p. B-2. 
  13. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission 2011 Commonwealth Court Candidate Ratings". Pennsylvania Bar Association. 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Worden, Amy (May 26, 2011). "PA counties prepare recount for judicial race". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on June 2, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Recount Confirms Winner in Democratic Commonwealth Court Primary Election" (PDF) (Press release). Pennsylvania Department of State. June 8, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Commonwealth Court: Boockvar is our choice with stellar background". The Patriot-News. October 30, 2011. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  17. ^ "PBA Judicial Evaluation Commission Releases Retention Ratings for Judicial Candidates" (Press release). Pennsylvania Bar Association. September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ Jackson, Peter (November 5, 2011). "Unopposed justice's fundraising totals 6 figures". Lebanon Daily News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 

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