Update: This story has been corrected to say the ad regarding Dan McCaffrey are sponsored by the Commonwealth Leader’s Fund
(WHTM) – The general election is 12 days away and one of the biggest races is for Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. Judicial cannons prevent candidates from attacking each other directly during elections, but that’s not stopping third-party groups from spending lots of money and lodging nasty attacks.
Both nominees, Republican Carolyn Carluccio and Democrat Dan McCaffrey, are highly recommended and highly offended.
One ad calls Carluccio “deceitful and dishonest” because pro-life views were removed from her website.
“I had no idea it would be so personal and it would really be attacking my integrity, and that lies could run rampant,” said Carluccio.
Carluccio says claims that she scrubbed pro-life views from her website are false.
“I’ve never had any pro-life language out there because I was very adamant that I would apply the law,” she said. “And the law in Pennsylvania is really clear, and I’m happy to apply that law because it’s my job.”
The Commonwealth Leader’s Fund has its own ads on McCaffrey, saying he’s “dishonest, deceitful, disgusting” after his brother Seamus resigned from the Supreme Court nine years ago for sending pornographic emails that included Dan on the email chain.
“I love my brother dearly, he made a mistake,” said Dan McCaffrey. “Did I feel bad for Seamus? Absolutely. Did I have anything to do with the judicial email scandal? Absolutely not.”
Both candidates have blasted the ads, insist third parties are running them, and say they can’t stop them.
McCaffrey is calling the ads “a complete, utter 100% falsehood… just a flat-out lie being told about me.”
John Jones, a former federal judge and now Dickinson College President, said he’s not convinced Carluccio and McCaffrey are as helpless as they say they are.
“I think that, you know, they could shut that down if they really wanted to,” said Jones. “I think that in the end, they’re probably pretty content to let them run.”
Jones recommends voters research the candidates before they vote and not base their opinion on 30-second ads.
One of the ads has a warning about disturbing viewers, but perhaps it’s the voters who should be disturbed.
“One of us is going to end up on that Supreme Court and we are both going to be bloodied,” said Carluccio.
McCaffrey added he thinks “these independent third party groups that are coming in with these negative comments are very dangerous to democracy, and they really do undermine the integrity of the courts, in my opinion.”
The November 7 election will replace the late Justice Max Baer, who passed away in October 2022.
The current political makeup of the court is four Democrats and two Republicans.