Whew. What a week. And yes, there are winners and losers – or, as we like to call it – Ups and Downs for primary election week 2023.
Cherelle Parker. The moderate who was raised in the Philly public schools won the Democratic primary for mayor on Tuesday. She is positioned to become the first female mayor in Philadelphia’s history as Democrats hold a 7:1 voter registration advantage in the city.
Sara Innamorato. In a victory for progressives, Innamorato won the Democratic primary for Allegheny County Executive by more than 13,000 votes over County Treasurer John Weinstein. As Democrats hold a 2:1 advantage in voter registration, she is considered the favorite against Republican Joe Rockey in the November general election.
Heather Boyd. The Democrat won the special election in the 163rd District to keep the party in the majority in the State House. The former senior advisor to Congresswomen Mary Gay Scanlon received 59.9 percent of the vote to easily dispatch Katie Ford who garnered 38.8%. She was helped over the top with endorsements from President Joe Biden and Gov. Josh Shapiro.
Mike Stender. The Harrisburg city firefighter won the special election in the 108th District to replace Lynda Culver in the north central PA seat. It was hoped that Stender and Katie Ford would sweep the special elections and give the GOP the majority in the state House.
Dan McCaffery. The judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court defeated fellow justice Deborah Kunselman by more than 200,000 votes to win the Democratic nomination for the open seat on the state’s Supreme Court. He will face Republican Carolyn Carluccio in November.
Carolyn Carluccio. The President Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas turned back Patricia McCullough to win the GOP nomination for the open seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Party allies reported spending nearly $1 million to help her defeat McCullough, who boasted of being the “only judge in 2020 in the presidential election in the entire country” to order a halt to her state’s election certification. Democrats hold a 4-2 majority on the court that is at the center of cases on guns, abortion and elections in a presidential battleground state.
PA House Democrats. After spending more than $1 million in their quest to retain the majority in the chamber, House Democrats will remain in control after a win by Heather Boyd in the 163rd District in Delaware County. They outspent Republicans, 10:1 to preserve the 102-101 advantage.
PA Voters. Yes, we know that it is an off-year election. Yes, we know that although these are the elections that affect the daily lives of Pennsylvanians – county commissioner, city council, township supervisor, district attorney, school board – turnout is almost always low. It is estimated that overall turnout in the Commonwealth on Tuesday was 27.5 percent. We’ve got to do better, PA.
Philly Progressives. City progressives were unsuccessful in continuing a string of mayoral victories in Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago, as Helen Gym finished third in the Philly Democratic primary behind Cherelle Parker and Rebecca Rhynhart. Philadelphia’s race was more complicated than Chicago’s, with several candidates here factoring into the outcome, and Rhynhart and Gym splitting votes. Of the five contenders, Parker was also the only Black candidate in a city which has historically voted along racial lines.
Election Deniers. In the biggest statewide races, Republicans who rejected election denialism turned back candidates who supported former President Donald Trump’s claims in three important contests. Patricia McCullough, who voted to halt the state’s certification of its 2020 presidential election results, lost her primary race for the PA Supreme Court. Joe Gale, who objected to his county’s approval of presidential election results in 2020, was ousted as Montgomery County Commissioner. And Ashley Gale, who aired conspiracy theories during public comment sessions and won the support of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, came in third in the Washington County GOP commissioner primary.
Stuart Ulsh. One of two GOP commissioners in Fulton County who went rogue in the spirit of a “stolen election” went down to defeat in the Republican primary. Ulsh, the chair of the three-member commission, finished third behind newcomer Steven Wible and fellow commissioner Randy Bunch
Thaddeus Kirkland. The incumbent mayor of Chester was ousted by Democratic voters on Tuesday after warnings that threats the city would lose its government and even its boundaries were real if its money woes, driven by years of missed pension payments, weren’t resolved by year’s end.
Ethan Phillippi. The senior at Conemaugh Township High School qualified for the school board ballot in November, earning the fourth-most votes on the Democratic ballot and fifth most on the Republican side “I’m really excited about it and I think the hard work really paid off,” said Phillippi, who graduates June 1.
Matt McGloin, Mark Mussina. Name recognition goes a long way in politics. So McGloin, the former Penn State and NFL quarterback, and Mussina, the brother of MLB pitcher Mike Mussina, are on to the November general election in the Lackawanna County and Lycoming County commissioner races, respectively.
Yard Signs. Always “down” at this time of the year. Most of these signs cannot be recycled, especially those with thin film plastic. The thicker, corrugated plastic signs that look like cardboard can be recycled, but not the wireframes.