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Pennsylvania Supreme Court race: GOP primary repeats 2022 dilemma

Pennsylvania Supreme Court race: GOP primary repeats 2022 dilemma

TTuesday is the primary election for Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidates, and Republican voters could decide the future of the Republican Party in the Keystone State by choosing between a centrist candidate and a right-wing candidate.

Four candidates, two Republicans and two Democrats, are running to fill the open seat vacated by the late Chief Justice Max Bear, a Democrat who died in 2022. One candidate from each party will advance to the November general election.


Although seemingly flying under the radar, this primary will set the tone for Pennsylvania, a key battleground state in 2024, and determine how popular the right wing of the Republican Party is with voters and whether it has enough momentum to defeat Democrats. at Autumn.

GOP voters will choose between Montgomery County Commonwealth Court Judge Carolyn Carluccio and Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough on Tuesday.

McCullough made a name for himself in Pennsylvania after he halted the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election to allow a lawsuit filed by allies of former President Donald Trump to proceed. It sought to disqualify all mail ballots.

The state Supreme Court quickly overturned his ruling, and President Joe Biden won the state by 80,555 votes.

McCullough has the backing of a committee tied to state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who lost his 2022 gubernatorial bid to Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-PA) and is a negative in the 2020 election.

The committee gave $10,000 to the campaign for McCullough, who previously lost a 2021 bid for the Supreme Court. She describes herself as a “strict constitutionalist judge” who is the only candidate for appellate judge. He has touted his decisions against the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and voting by mail.

“I am the only candidate who has managed and defended the people’s constitutional rights on critical issues related to election integrity, limiting the governor’s COVID terms, upholding the Second Amendment (four times in the last year alone), congressional redistricting, constitutional challenges to state laws, taxes, environmental issues and more,” McCullough said in an April interview with Legal Intelligencer.

He said the state is in a “constitutional crisis.

“People can see from my record that I live up to my oath to uphold the Constitution and not legislate from the bench. I am fair and impartial and uphold the rule of law,” McCullough said. “It is critical that we elect a justice who upholds the Constitution and applies the rule of law fairly.”

Carluccio has the support of the state Republican Party and the Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative. A recent announcement by the committee praised her as a judge with “unmatched experience” and “unquestionable integrity.”

She said in a statement to CNN that, if elected, she would leave “personal and political views at the door and examine each case without prejudice and only determine the constitutionality of what is before me.”

Carluccio said she was concerned about the “conflicting and sometimes unclear” regulations surrounding voting by mail, but has never questioned the outcome of any election.

“Our election laws must be applied consistently across all counties, regardless of election year,” Carluccio said in his statement. “And when a portion of our electorate has concerns about the integrity of our elections, rather than dismissing their concerns, the response should be bold transparency in the administration of our elections.”

Democrats currently hold a majority on Pennsylvania’s seven-member high court, but a Republican victory would narrow that margin and could lead to a slow but steady shift in power going forward.


Other states have faced similar crucial elections. In Wisconsin, Democratic candidate Janet Protasiewicz defeated Republican candidate Dan Kelly on April 4. Protasiewicz’s victory wrestled away control from conservatives who held the high court majority for 15 years.

This growing trend is also likely to trickle down into the 2024 elections as Republicans attempt to retain their House majority and flip the Senate. Democrats are preparing to play their 2022 playbook of talking up the extreme GOP candidates they see as easiest to defeat in a general election.

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