Democrat Daniel McCaffery won the vacant seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, according to a Decision Desk HQ projection, restoring a 5-2 Democratic majority on the state’s high court.
McCaffery, a Superior Court judge, won the election for the state Supreme Court seat against Republican Carolyn Carluccio, the president judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. The two were vying for an open seat that was vacated after Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, died last year.
The vacancy created by Baer’s death slimmed the court’s Democratic majority from 5-2 to 4-2.
Though state Supreme Court races tend to be sleepier affairs, and this particular race would not have changed the balance of partisan control on the state’s high court, the race was closely watched by both parties, given that a GOP win would have brought Republicans a step closer to flipping the state Supreme Court.
Democrats sought to target Carluccio on the issue of abortion. Reporting from The Keystone in May revealed that a line on Carluccio’s website that called her a “Defender of 2nd Amendment Rights and All Life Under the Law” had been removed from the site. Her campaign argued her website was changed before the primary, not after.
Meanwhile, some Republican groups sought to highlight the issue of crime and public safety, touching on Carluccio’s record as a former prosecutor.
Still, both candidates had to contend with the fact that few voters knew who either was. A Franklin & Marshall College poll released in late October found that overwhelming majorities of respondents said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion about McCaffery or Carluccio.