On Tuesday, Nov. 7, voters across the United States went to the polls and made their voices heard in the 2023 general election. In Pennsylvania and other select states, influential gubernatorial, legislative, and judicial seats were selected through Tuesday’s elections.
In Pennsylvania, voters elected Democratic Judge Daniel McCaffery for a seat on the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the court of last resort for all suits in the state, with huge power on issues including abortion, election policies such as gerrymandering and allegations of voter fraud, and judicial policy. The court now holds a 5-2 Democratic majority.
McCaffery is currently a judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and sat as a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. A veteran of the U.S. Army and graduate of Temple University, Judge McCaffery has pro-choice beliefs which could prove influential as the topic of abortion becomes an even larger part of American policy debate. The Republican candidate, Carolyn Carluccio, has been a Montgomery County Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for fourteen years, and graduated from Dickinson College and Widener University.
PA Supreme Court Seat Election Results:
|Daniel D. McCaffery (Dem)||1,637,044 (53.4%)|
|Carolyn T. Carluccio (Rep)||1,430,120 (46.6%)|
In addition to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race, there were other partisan elections for seats on various state-wide courts. This included an election to fill a seat on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court between Democrat Matt Wolf and Republican Megan Martin. Judge Wolf won with 52% of the vote.
Furthermore, two seats were up for election on the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Jill Beck and Timika Lane, both Democrats, won the two seats. Democrat Jack Panella and Republican Vic Stabile ran for retention to the Superior Court. Both won their bids for retention. Elections for other lower-level courts were also held.
In addition to the statewide races, there were also elections held for local offices in Swarthmore and surrounding areas. These included races for Delaware County Council and Delaware County District Attorney.
Delaware County Council (Three Candidates Elected)
|Monica Taylor (Dem)||87,955 (20.8%)|
|Elaine Paul Schaefer (Dem)||82,955 (19.6%)|
|Christine A. Reuther (Dem)||81,940 (19.4%)|
|Joy Schwartz (Rep)||58,418 (13.8%)|
|Jeffrey O. Jones (Rep)||56,384 (13.3%)|
|William Dennon (Rep)||55,574 (13.1%)|
|Jack Stollsteimer (Dem)||90,427 (60.7%)|
|Beth Stefanide Miscichowski (Rep)||58,467 (39.3%)|
In other local election news, Janna Garland, Jared Therrien, Jill Bennett Gaieski, Steve Carp, and David M. Boonin, all Democrats, were elected to terms on the Swarthmore Borough Council.
Elections Outside of Pennsylvania
Elections for various positions in states around the country were also held last Tuesday. Many were watching as several elections featured debates on abortion rights in the aftermath of the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court ruling. Democrats have overperformed compared to expectations in recent elections because of widespread support for abortion rights.
Democrat Andy Beshear was re-elected Governor in a state that voted for Donald Trump in 2020 by 26 points. Commentators remarked on Beshear’s ability to keep his campaign focused on local issues and beat Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who was previously seen as a rising star in the Republican Party.
Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is widely seen as a potential future candidate for president and another rising star in the Republican Party. In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election, he and the Virginia Republican Party had put quite a bit of money into the elections, and campaigned on the prospect of an abortion ban were they to win. However, Democrats, who had campaigned on abortion rights, won majorities in both houses of the Virginia legislature in what was seen as a rebuke to pro-life policies and candidates like Governor Youngkin.
In Ohio, two issue referendums were on the ballot for voters. Ohio Issue 1 was a referendum on whether to adopt a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment that codified a large number of reproductive rights into the Ohio Constitution. This included the right to contraception, a return to the same protections provided by Roe v. Wade, miscarriage care, and fertility treatment. The referendum passed by around 500,000 votes. Ohio Issue 2 was an initiative to legalize cannabis, and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Issue 2 passed with around the same number of votes. Political commentators remarked on the strong turnout that these ballot measures drew, especially for an off-year election, as well as the overwhelming passage of the ballots in a state that had been trending more and more towards Republicans.
In Mississippi, Democrat Brandon Presley challenged Governor Tate Reeves and was thought to have unusually good standing in a deeply red state. This was considered to be partly due to Reeves’ unpopularity, in addition to Presley’s populist style and attempts to mobilize Mississippi’s Black population. Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the country. Last Tuesday, however, Reeves did win re-election. Presley kept Reeves’ win to within a 5% margin in a state that voted for President Trump by 16.5% in 2020.
Last Tuesday’s general election was widely considered to be part of a streak of generally positive election cycles for the Democratic Party. Furthermore, many think this streak is related to the national debate on abortion rights in the aftermath of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court ruling.