Democrats endorse Philadelphia judge McCaffery for seat on state's high court

Pennsylvania's Democratic Party has voted to endorse an appellate court judge from Philadelphia, Daniel McCaffery, to be the party's nominee for an open state Supreme Court seat in this year's election.

Party committee members voted at their meeting over the weekend in suburban Harrisburg to endorse McCaffery over a fellow appellate court judge, Deborah Kunselman of Beaver County.

The primary is May 16. The deadline to file petitions to get on the ballot is March 7, and candidates can start gathering voter signatures Feb. 14.

Both McCaffery and Kunselman serve on the statewide Superior Court, which handles appeals from county courts in criminal and civil cases.

Republicans will hold their state committee meeting this weekend in Hershey and could vote to endorse. One candidate, Carolyn Carluccio, a Montgomery County judge, has announced her candidacy for the party’s nomination for state Supreme Court.

In addition to Carluccio, two others — Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick and Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough of Allegheny County — have met with regional Republican Party caucuses that interview candidates before holding endorsement votes. Both McCullough and Patrick lost in the party's 2021 primary for state Supreme Court.

The seven-seat high court has one opening to be filled in the November election. Justices on the state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania serve 10-year terms and run for subsequent terms in up-or-down retention elections without an opponent.

The court currently has a majority of four justices elected as Democrats and two justices elected as Republicans.