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Politics

PA Primary Guide

Posted by Nathan Tobey on 05/16 at 05:15 PM

Voting on Tuesday? Unsure who the candidates are? Here is a guide to the primary.

Races: Supreme Court | Superior Court | Commonwealth Court | SCASD Board of School Directors | Centre County District Attorney | Ferguson Township Supervisor | Harris Township Supervisor | State College Borough Council | District Judge (Boalsburg and Penns Valley)

Judiciary Elections

Supreme Court

“The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court in the Commonwealth.  It is also the oldest appellate court in the nation, dating to 1684.  The court makes final interpretations of state law and has administrative authority over the entire Pennsylvania court system.  Seven justices make up the court.  They are elected to 10-year terms.  The longest-serving member of the court presides as chief justice.  The court holds sessions in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh (Description from the state website).”

Tom Barnes on the Supreme Court Race
Seems like the presidential election was yesterday, but it’s almost time to vote again—in your local municipal primary. On ballots this May 19: the statewide race for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, a race that rarely gets much attention. WPSU’s Cynthia Berger asks a political reporter, Tom Barnes, why you should notice this year.

Listen to Tom Barnes

Click here for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s guide to the race.
Click here for more coverage of the race from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Hear from the Candidates:
The State Supreme Court has one seat open this election year.  While the Democratic primary is uncontested, the Republicans have three candidates running.  Hear all three Republican candidates, as well as the Democratic candidate, explain their qualifications.

Interview with Judge Cheryl Allen (R)

Interview with Judge Paul Panepinto (R)

Interview with Judge Orie Melvin (R)

Interview with Judge Jack Panella (D)

Here is another set of interviews with the candidates conducted by WITF’s State Capitol Bureau Chief, Scott Detrow.

Supreme Court Candidate Interviews


Superior Court

"The Superior Court is one of Pennsylvania's two statewide intermediate appellate courts. This court, which was established in 1895, reviews most of the civil and criminal cases that are appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas in the Commonwealth's 67 counties. The Superior Court consists of 15 judges who serve 10-year terms. The president judge of Superior Court is elected to a five-year term by his or her colleagues (Description from the state website)."

Scott Detrow, WITF's State Capitol Bureau Chief, interviews candidates for the Superior Court.

Superior Court Candidate Interviews

Click here for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s guide to the race.
Click here for additional coverage of the race from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Commonwealth Court

“The Commonwealth Court is one of Pennsylvania’s two statewide intermediate appellate courts. This court, which was established in 1968, is unlike any other state court in the nation. Its jurisdiction generally is limited to legal matters involving state and local government and regulatory agencies. Litigation typically focuses on such subjects as banking, insurance and utility regulation and laws affecting taxation, land use, elections, labor practices and workers compensation. Commonwealth Court also acts as a court of original jurisdiction, or a trial court, when lawsuits are filed by or against the Commonwealth (Description from the state website).”

Click here for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s guide to the race.
Click here  for more Pittsburgh Post-Gazette coverage of the race.

County specific coverage of local races:

May 2009 Primary: Centre County
An interview with Bob Heisse, executive editor of the Centre Daily Times.

Interview with Centre Daily Times Executive Editor Bob Heisse

May 2009 Primary: Clearfield County
In this interview, Cynthia Berger talks with Nick Hoffman, managing editor of the DuBois Courier Express, which serves Clearfield, Jefferson and Elk counties.

Interview with DuBois Courier Express Managing Editor Nick Hoffman

May 2009 Primary: Elk & McKean Counties
Elk and McKean counties are served by the newspapers The Ridgway Record, The Kane Republican, and The St. Mary’s Daily Press. WPSU’s Emily Reddy talks with Brent Addleman, editor of those three papers.

Interview with Brent Addleman

May 2009 Primary: Blair and Cambria Counties
Our series on the upcoming municipal primaries continues as WPSU’s Cynthia Berger talks with Kay Stephens of the Altoona Mirror about races in Blair and Cambria counties.

Interview with Kay Stephens

May 2009 Primary: Clinton County
WPSU’s Emily Reddy talked on the phone with Jim Runkle, a staff writer for the Lock Haven Express, about races in his area.

Interview with Jim Runkle

Here are videos of candidates in other local races around the region. They were completed by C-NET.


State College Area School District Board of School Directors

There are eight candidates running for four seats in the State College Board of School Directors primary.  In this video, the candidates make their cases for why they are best for the position.


Centre County District Attorney

There are three candidates running in the Democratic primary for Centre County District Attorney.  These include two women, one of whom could make history by becoming the first female Centre County District Attorney.  Hear from Democrat candidates Karen Arnold, Stacy Parks Miller, and Tony De Boef in this video.  Also hear from Republican incumbent Michael Madeira who is running unopposed.


Ferguson Township Supervisor

There are four Republican candidates running for two seats on the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors.  In this video, candidates Thomas Brown and Bill Keough, and George Pytel, each explain their qualifications and positions.


Harris Township Supervisor

Three Democrats and three Republicans and competing for two spots in each party in the Harris Township Supervisor primaries.  Hear from Democats – Dennis Hameister, Christopher Lee, and Bruce Lord – along with Republicans – Josephine Chesworth, Fred Dimuccio, and Paul Rittenhouse – as they discuss their qualifications.



State College Borough Council

This primary features two Penn State students, Democrat Bill Van Saun and Republican Barrett Fisher, as well as Democrats Thomas Daubert, Catherine Dauler, Ron Filippelli, and Donald Hahn, and Republicans Charles Gable and Ron Madrid.


District Judge (Boalsburg and Penns Valley)

This video features incumbent Tom Jordan – who cross-filed in both the Republican and Democratic primaries – and endorsed Democrat candidate LeDon Young. 

{name} Author: Nathan Tobey
Bio: WPSU Producer & Political Coverage Coordinator

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