The Philadelphia City Council had two district seats up for grabs Tuesday, and both were retained by their incumbents. Voters also chose among judges vying for several key positions in Pennsylvania’s statewide courts.
In Philly’s 10th District, Republican Brian O’Neill defeated Democrat Gary Masino. In the 3rd District, Democrat Jamie Gauthier defeated Jabari Jones of the West Is Best Party. Both races were called by the Associated Press around 10 p.m
Votes for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Supreme Court and Commonwealth Court were still being counted. These races are expected to have important implications for abortion rights in the state.
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The results of the district’s City Council and judicial races will appear below when votes are counted Tuesday evening. All results are unofficial until certified by the city and state.
Philadelphia City Council – 10th District
The election in the 10th District – which covers most of Northeast Philadelphia – presented a challenge for longtime Republican incumbent Brian O’Neill. He faced Democratic union leader Gary Masino, a moderate who hoped to win O’Neill with the to unseat support from working-class voters in the north-east.
O’Neill, the only Republican on the City Council running for election Tuesday, has served in the 10th District since 1980. He has fended off several challenges from Democrats over the years. Masino is the leader of Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 and has significant support from construction unions.
Ten of the 17 City Council seats are elected by geographic district. The other seven seats are filled by members of the local council who are elected in a separate election. The city’s charter requires that at least two of the total seats be reserved for parties that are not in the majority – historically Republicans.
The GOP is already outnumbered in Philadelphia by about 7 to 1 registered voters. In recent years, the party has been pressured by the emergence of the progressive Working Families Party, which has political overlap with the Democrats. Republicans held both council seats continuously for 70 years until Kendra Brooks won one in 2019 as a member of the Working Families Party.
Both O’Neill and Masino ran as moderates in their respective parties. O’Neill is a long-time supporter of Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, whose ranks are well represented in Northeast Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Philadelphia City Council – 3rd District
The 3rd District includes neighborhoods in West and Southwest Philadelphia, including University City, Powelton Village, Mantua, Cobbs Creek and Kingsessing.
Incumbent Democrat Jamie Gauthier faced a third-party challenge from Jabari Jones of the West Is Best party. Jones represents small businesses along West Philly’s commercial corridors and chose to run against Gauthier to bring an alternative approach to the council. He withdrew from the Democratic primary earlier this year due to a legal challenge to his campaign materials, but decided to run as a third-party candidate in Tuesday’s general election. His campaign called for improvements in crime-fighting technology – such as more surveillance cameras and better forensics – as well as referring more criminal cases to the attorney general for tougher prosecutions.
Gauthier, now serving her first term on the City Council, championed issues such as affordable housing and gun violence prevention in hard-hit West Philly neighborhoods. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she played a role in establishing protections for tenants from evictions and a diversion process to reach agreements rather than taking such matters to court. She has also advocated for improvements to city services and investments to address quality of life issues.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court plays a critical role in deciding issues such as reproductive rights, voting rights and procedural gridlock in the state legislature.
The most important judging competition this year is to fill the vacancy left by the death of the late judge Max Baer last September. Chief Justice Daniel McCaffery, a Philadelphia Democrat, was expected to strike According to the Associated Press, Judge Carolyn Carluccio, president of the Montgomery County Court, is a Republican. The race cost more than $22 million and set a state record for a Supreme Court election, according to the AP reported.
McCaffery, who began his career in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, was elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2019. He is a military veteran and graduate of Temple University. McCaffery also promises this Approach cases with a non-partisan perspective and has compared his legal philosophy that of US Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.
Carluccio met with great skepticism from Democrats which claimed it would roll back abortion rights in Pennsylvania, emboldened by the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Carluccio claims that she is an advocate of judicial neutrality, believes that judges must put aside their personal opinions even when issues and cases are highly politicized.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
The Pennsylvania Superior Court is the appellate court that hears all criminal and some civil appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas. Two Republicans and two Democrats are vying for two vacant judge positions on the 15-member court.
The Republican ticket includes Harry Smail, a Westmoreland County judge, and Clarion County attorney Maria Battista. Smail, originally a representative for former Gov. Tom Corbett, has handled a number of cases in the Court of Common Pleas. His rulings have shaped the application of laws regarding land use, energy exploration, and the Second Amendment. Battista is a former assistant district attorney who served as a consultant at the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. She also served as a hearing examiner and presided over hundreds of cases involving the state Department of Corrections.
On the Democratic side are Judge Timika Lane of the Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia and private attorney Jill Beck of Pittsburgh. Both candidates already ran unsuccessfully for the Supreme Court in 2021.
In her campaign materials, Lane says her judicial philosophy is based on respect and dignity for all people, regardless of their background or identity. Beck spent the early part of her career advocating for troubled young women and later represented abused and neglected children in court cases. She is a pro-choice candidate who also supports the rights of LGBTQ people.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court consists of nine judges who have jurisdiction over administrative and civil law. Like the Superior Court, it is an intermediate appellate court. It currently consists of three Democrats and five Republicans, with one vacancy to be filled in Tuesday’s election (former Republican Justice Kevin Brobson was elected to the state Supreme Court in 2021).
Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Matt Wolf, a Democrat, defeated Republican attorney Megan Martin, the Associated Press reported.
Wolf is a former civil rights attorney who spent much of his career fighting housing discrimination. He has had a long military career and continues to serve in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He is currently a senior civil judge at the Philadelphia Municipal Court and helped establish the city’s eviction diversion program. Covid-19 pandemic.
Martin, who lives in Cumberland County, recently served as clerk and parliamentarian of the Senate and led the chamber’s legislative process. She also previously worked as a lawyer for the US Navy.