Republican candidates running for the state’s appellate courts were nearing victory across the board on Wednesday, with GOP candidates emerging victorious in races for seats on the state Supreme Court, Superior Court and Commonwealth Court.
Republican Kevin Brobson, the current president judge on the Commonwealth Court, defeated Democrat Maria McLaughlin for the seat up for grabs on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Both Brobson and McLaughlin were highly-recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, which rates judicial candidates on their legal ability, experience and temperament, among other qualifications.
The Supreme Court seat was highly coveted by both major political parties, with a combined $4 million spent in support of Brobson and McLaughlin, according to an analysis by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
Brobson, who won with 52.6% of the vote as of Wednesday morning, was endorsed by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, among others.
Despite Brobson’s victory, Democrats will retain their 5-2 majority on the state’s highest court.
Meanwhile, Megan Sullivan won the vacant seat on the Pennsylvania Superior Court, defeating Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Timika Lane, and led Lane by an 11-point margin as of Wednesday morning. Sullivan is a Republican who worked in the state attorney general’s office and also spent 10 years as an assistant district attorney for Chester County. Both candidates were recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
GOP candidates also appear poised to win the two seats up for grabs on the Commonwealth Court, which hears issues relating to state government. Republican Stacy Wallace won one seat on the court, according to The Associated Press, despite being “not recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Republican Drew Crompton, a former state Senate aide who was appointed and began serving on the court in 2020, was also leading as of Wednesday morning, though the race has not been called.
Pennsylvania voters also weighed in on which judges should be retained on the Superior Court and Commonwealth Court, respectively. Each of those courts had two judges up for retention, and all four candidates – each of whom is a Republican – were retained for 10-year terms.
Voters retained John Bender and Mary Jane Bowes, both Superior Court judges, for another 10 years, and did the same with Commonwealth Court judges Renee Cohn Jubelirer and Anne Covey. Bender, Bowes and Jubelirer were recommended for retention by the state bar association, though Covey was not recommended for failing to participate in the association’s evaluation process.