2017 Local and State Elections
2017 is an important year for local and state-wide elections. There are no federal elections this year. 14WIDC endorsements are here and the 2017 Voters Guide mailed in early May 2017
Offices & Candidates up for Election in 2017
Links lead to the official websites for each office to learn more information. All current Democratic candidates for each office are listed in alphabetical order and political incumbents are indicated with (I) and sitting judges that have been appointed to fill a vacancy until November’s election are designated with an (A) for appointed.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) has rated the candidates for statewide judicial offices, as indicated below.
The Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) has rated all judicial candidates for the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and any candidates for statewide judicial office who have requested a review.
The Allegheny County Democratic Party has also released their endorsements for 2017.
PA Supreme Court – 1 vacancy
- Judge Dwayne Woodruff – PA Bar Assn Recommended & ACBA Recommended
PA Superior Court – 4 vacancies
- William F. Caye, II – PA Bar Assn Not Recommended
- Judge Deborah Anne Kunselman – PA Bar Assn Highly Recommended
- Judge Maria McLaughlin – PA Bar Assn Recommended
- Judge Geoffrey Moulton (A) – PA Bar Assn Highly Recommended
- Judge Carolyn H. Nichols – PA Bar Assn Recommended
PA Commonwealth Court – 2 vacancies
- Rep. Bryan E. Barbin – PA Bar Assn Recommended
- Walter Timothy Barry – PA Bar Assn Recommended & ACBA Highly Recommended
- Judge Ellen H. Ceisler – PA Bar Assn Recommended
- Irene McLaughlin Clark – PA Bar Assn Not Recommended & ACBA Not Recommended at this Time
- Judge Joseph Matthias Cosgrove (A) – PA Bar Assn Highly Recommended
- Richard Todd Eagen – PA Bar Assn Recommended
Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas – 2 vacancies
- Pauline Calabrese – ACBA Not Recommended at this Time
- Patrick Connelly – ACBA Highly Recommended
- Rosemary Christina Crawford – ACBA Highly Recommended
- Jessica Lynch – ACBA Not Recommended at this Time
- Mary McGinley – ACBA Recommended
- Judge David Spurgeon (A) – ACBA Highly Recommended
- Bill Mullen (I)
- George Satler
- Darlene Harris
- William Peduto (I)
- John Welch
Pittsburgh City Council – District 8
- Dan Gilman (I)
Pittsburgh School Board – District 1
- Sylvia C. Wilson (I)
Pittsburgh School Board – District 5
- Terry Kennedy (I)
- Ghadah Makoski
Magisterial District Judge – District 05-2-35
- Judge Dan Butler (A)
- Abbie Campsie
- Mark Sindler
- Matthew J. Wholey
- Monday, April 17 Last day to REGISTER before the primary
- Tuesday, May 16 PRIMARY ELECTION DAY
- Tuesday, Oct 10 Last day to REGISTER before the November election
- Tuesday, Oct 31 Last day to apply for ABSENTEE ballot
- Friday, Nov 3 Last day for Board of Elections to receive ABSENTEE ballots
- Tuesday, Nov 7 ELECTION DAY
Members of the 14WIDC met on Sunday April 23, Noon-3pm for the Annual Endorsement Meeting at the Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink Banquet Room. Members had the opportunity to listen to candidates for office and then vote to endorse their chosen candidates.
The Club’s official endorsements for 2017 are as follows:
23 April 2017
14th WARD CLUB BACKS PEDUTO FOR MAYOR
Ready to support him for a second term leading the City of Pittsburgh
29 of 30 candidates for office speak to PGH 14 WIDC members and interested citizens
The 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club has endorsed Bill Peduto for Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, affirming his handling of several opportunities and challenges thus far. He faces opposition in the May 16 primary election from Dr. John Welch and Councilwoman Darlene Harris. The Mayor in coming years will face the pressing issues of drinking water safety, public infrastructure, equity in development and gentrification displacement, engaging in the 21st century economy, immigration policy, and resilience in the face of climate change. All of these issues came up from question form those present at the Endorsement Election Forum.
At its annual endorsement meeting today the club also selected incumbent Bill Mullen for Sheriff of Allegheny County, who has received praise for running the Sheriff’s office free of any credible accusations of misconduct or failure to perform the office’s duties fairly.
Dan Butler won the endorsement for Magisterial District Justice – District 5-2-35 – over Mark Sindler Matthew Wholey, and Abbie Campsie in a 4-way race. The local judicial office deals mainly with criminal, small claim civil, and truancy cases. Butler was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf after his predecessor Hugh McGough was elected Judge of Common Pleas Court. The race for this office has been more controversial than many in past years.
In a five-way race for the Democratic nomination for PA Superior Court, Carolyn H. Nichols, Geoff Moulton, Maria McLaughlin, and Debbie Kunselman were endorsed by the Pittsburgh 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club membership. Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler and labor attorney Todd Eagen won the endorsement for PA Commonwealth Court.
In the Pittsburgh School Board District 5 campaign between first-time candidate Ghadah Makoshi and incumbent Terry Kennedy, Ms. Kennedy was endorsed.
For Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, six candidates vied for two seats on the bench. The Club’s members endorsed trial attorney Patrick Connelly and appointed Judge David Spurgeon.
Two campaigns in particular were beset with “whisper campaigns” about shortcomings in performance or reactionary stands taken by candidates. The Pittsburgh 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club usually turns away from candidates who make unsubstantiated accusations of other candidates, and this year’s endorsements reflect that principle.
The Club further advocates for environmental, economic, and social justice. Questions from Club members and attendees at the April 23 Endorsement Forum frequently probed into candidates’ records and stands on these issues.
With more than 18,000 registered Democrats, the 14th Ward is the largest ward in the City of Pittsburgh and second largest in the state. The Ward includes all or part of Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, North Point Breeze, Regent Square, Park Place, and Swisshelm Park.
The Club, which is not affiliated with the Democratic Committee of Allegheny County, is the oldest independent Democratic club in the country and has made annual candidate endorsements for 53 years. Its endorsements are printed in a Voters’ Guide and mailed to Democratic voters in the ward. The endorsements are also posted at the club’s website http://www.pgh14widc.org
The Club’s open endorsement process allows members to hear candidates present their positions before casting their votes for the office seekers who best match their values and have best responded to important issues.
Here is the club’s full slate of endorsed candidates:
- PA Supreme Court Justice: Dwayne Woodruff
- Allegheny County Sheriff: Bill Mullen
- City of Pittsburgh Mayor: Bill Peduto
- Pittsburgh City Council – District 8: Dan Gilman
- Pittsburgh School Board – District 1: Sylvia C. Wilson
- Pittsburgh School Board – District 5: Terry Kennedy
- Magisterial District Justice: District 5-2-35: Dan Butler
- PA Superior Court: Carolyn H. Nichols, Geoff Moulton, Maria McLaughlin, and Debbie Kunselman
- PA Commonwealth Court: Ellen Ceisler and Todd Eagen
- Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas: Patrick Connelly and David Spurgeon