HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — It’s clear those vying for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or a term as Philadelphia’s mayor will face contested races in the primaries as the last day for candidates to file — Tuesday — arrives.
Statewide, the top-of-the-ticket race is for an open seat on the state Supreme Court, a panel that has settled high-profile election-related lawsuits in the past several years, including efforts by Republicans to block Joe Biden’s victory in 2020’s presidential election. Both Republicans and Democrats will compete in contested primaries for the position.
On the Democratic side, two judges on the state Superior Court filed petitions to run. They are Daniel McCaffery, of Philadelphia, and Deborah Kunselman, of Beaver County. The Superior Court handles appeals from county courts in criminal and civil cases.
On the Republican side, Montgomery County’s president judge, Carolyn Caluccio, filed, as did Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough. McCullough, of Allegheny County, also ran for state Supreme Court in 2021 and lost in the primary.
Democrats now hold a four-to-two majority on the high court after the death last year of Max Baer, a Democrat who was chief justice.
A crowded field of Democrats vying to be mayor of Philadelphia has also emerged. At least 10 candidates are throwing their hat in the ring to succeed term-limited Mayor Jim Kenney, with a majority having resigned from their post on city council to run for the open seat.
Six former council members — including Democrats Allan Domb, Cherelle L. Parker, Derek S. Green, Helen Gym and Maria Quiñones Sánchez and Republican David Oh — have filed for the seat.
Four others — Democrats Delscia Gray, James M. DeLeon, Jeff Brown and Warren Bloom — have also put themselves in the running.
Candidates for Pennsylvania positions up for election can file their paperwork through 5 p.m. Tuesday, meaning more names may join the race in the next day. Philadelphia weighs heavily Democratic, and the May 16 primary will likely determine who will be leading the city next.
Philadelphia is one of several major cities electing mayors this year. Candidates have tapped crime as a top priority, pointing to the city’s gun violence. In his last year in office, Kenney had expressed frustration at efforts to toughen gun laws after a Fourth of July shooting. His attempt to ban guns and deadly weapons from the city’s indoor and public outdoor spaces — like parks, basketball courts and pools — was knocked down by a judge in October.