The list below shows state, county and MDJ Dem candidates who will appear on the May 16 primary ballot. See candidates for municipal offices and school boards on the Dem zones’ sites and Facebook pages. Here are relevant pages to date:
For candidate spotlights, starting with countywide offices, see CCDC Facebook (also shown below after publication for each candidate). See PA Dem party write-ups here. For the list of all candidates in Chester County, click here.
= endorsed by the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee
= endorsed by the Chester County Democratic Committee
Chester County Clerk of Courts
CCDC Facebook spotlight here. Maria is founder, co-owner and business manager of Fidelis Engineering, Inc. in Glenmoore. She is a graduate of Villanova and West Chester University and a registered nurse. Her diverse background in business, clinic and community nursing, teaching and marketing will bring new efficiency and innovation to management of court records. As Business Manager of a veteran owned-business, Maria has valuable experience complying with government policies and procedures.
Chester County Controller: Margaret Reif
CCDC Facebook spotlight here. Margaret is currently Controller for the Youth Mentoring Partnership based in Malvern. Organized and detail-oriented, she has extensive experience in bookkeeping, advertising, preparation of annual reports, tax information, 990/1099/non-profit compilation submissions, and filing insurance documentation.
Chester County Coroner: Christina VandePol
CCDC Facebook spotlight here. Christina VandePol, M.D., a Chester County resident for more than 25 years, is board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology. Christina attended Bryn Mawr College and the University of Penn School of Medicine, specializing in Endocrinology. Since early 2015, Christina has taught courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology at Delaware County Community College (DCCC). In 1997, Christina founded EnPharma Consulting, providing physician services for clinical research and development projects. In addition to her Coroner duties, she will be a strong advocate for addressing the current opioid crisis in the county.
Chester County Treasurer: Patricia Maisano
CCDC Facebook spotlight here. Patricia is founder and CEO of IKOR International Inc., a rapidly growing Patient Advocacy and Professional Guardianship service focused on the disabled (mental and physical) and seniors. She is a long-time resident of Chester County, serving as board member fr the YMCA of Brandywine Valley and the Kennett Senior Center. Patricia will use her corporate experience to ensure the Office of the Treasurer maintains tight accounting controls and her ability to innovate to improve services.
PA Supreme Court – Three open seats
Why is PA Supreme Court important?
- Makes final interpretations of the Pennsylvania Constitution and all state laws.
- Issues headed their way: reapportionment, voting rights, worker’s rights, choice, environment, civil rights (gender equality, clean air and pure water, freedom from religious persecution, a free and open press, and protections against warrantless searches, due process violations, and cruel punishments).
- Crucial after the 2020 census: to do away with gerrymandering (if the current anti-gerrymandering movement hasn’t done it by then).
- This is crucial to our self-defense against Trumpism: PA judges serve 10+ years.
Read more at PA Dems or download pdf:
Read “Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: Why Should I Care Who’s Elected?”
Judge Dwayne Woodruff
CCDC Facebook spotlight here. Dwayne is a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He was first elected to the court in 2005 and was retained in 2015. He graduated from the University of Louisville in 1979 and played defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He later earned his J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law in 1988. In 1997, Woodruff became a founding partner of the Woodruff, Flaherty & Fardo law firm. He also serves as the Pittsburgh co-chair for the National Campaign to Stop Violence’s “Do the Write Thing Challenge.”
Up for retention vote:
Chief Justice Thomas Saylor
Justice Debra Todd
PA Superior Court – Four open seats. This is the principal intermediate appellate court responsible for reviewing almost all criminal, civil, and other appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas. See more details at PA Dems.
William F. Caye II
After receiving his JD from Duquesne University in 1993, Bill worked as Assistant DA in Allegheny County and with other county prosecutors in the area prosecution and domestic abuse units. Bill became a Senior Trial Associate with the Gaydos firm before launching his own firm. In 2006, PA AG Tom Corbett appointed Bill to be a Deputy Attorney General prosecuting crimes against children to enforce internet safety.
Judge Deborah A. Kunselman
CCDC Facebook spotlight here. Deborah is a judge on the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. She was elected in 2005 and was retained in 2015. She was the first female judge elected to the 36th district Court of Common Pleas. She earned her undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1989 and her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1992.
Judge Maria McLaughlin
Maria is a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. She was elected in 2011, and her term expires in January 2022. McLaughlin received her bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1988 and her J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 1992.
Judge H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. (incumbent, 2016 appointee)
H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. is a judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court. He was appointed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in June 2016 and confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Senate on June 27, 2016. Moulton received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1980 and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1984.
Judge Carolyn Nichols
Carolyn is a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. Prior to her election to the common pleas court in 2011, Nichols held a number of positions, including legislative assistant to former Philadelphia Councilwoman Augusta Clarke, assistant city solicitor, and deputy secretary of external affairs for the office of the mayor of Philadelphia.
PA Commonwealth Court – Two open seats
Rep. Bryan Barbin
Bryan is a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing District 71. He was first elected to the chamber in 2008. Bryan earned his B.A. in economics from the University of Richmond and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. His professional experience includes working as a law clerk for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Henry X. O’Brien, as Partner at Gleason, McQullian, Barbin and Markovitz, as a Deputy Attorney General in the Tax/Finance Section for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and as counsel for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Timothy has practiced municipal and public sector labor and employment law for 37 years. He has served as Solicitor for numerous municipalities and has advised many communities across the Commonwealth on labor law and relations. Mr. Barry is a 1975 graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, with a double major in Political Science and English, and a 1979 graduate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Judge Ellen Ceisler
A 1986 graduate of Temple University Law School, Ellen served as a Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney, specializing in prosecuting domestic violence crimes. She also worked as an investigative producer for CBS News in Philadelphia, working on series related to the mental health, foster care, and day care systems; government mismanagement and waste; consumer fraud; and abuses of the elderly and immigrants. From 1997-2005, she served as Deputy Director and then Director of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Integrity and Accountability Office. In 2007, she was elected to the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia and spent her first six years presiding over major felony trials.
Irene McLaughlin Clark
Irene served as a Municipal Court Judge in Pittsburgh for ten years before returning to private practice focused on helping municipalities and organizations revitalize communities. Her extensive background in housing and neighborhood revitalization led to her to being designated Housing Court Judge responsible for code enforcement cases. Since leaving the bench in 2003, she has focused on helping municipalities and organizations clean up and revitalize blighted and abandoned properties.
Judge Joe Cosgrove (2016 appointee)
Joseph M. Cosgrove is a judge on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. He was appointed to this court by Gov. Tom Wolf. Cosgrove previously served on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Governor Ed Rendell nominated him to fill the remaining two years of Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr., who resigned amid scandal. Cosgrove holds a masters degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Marywood University and his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School. His law practice strongly emphasized work before the appellate courts of Pennsylvania, including municipal and election law, and civil and constitutional rights.
Todd received his undergraduate degree from Point Park University in Pittsburgh and his J.D. from Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law. In 2004, Todd joined the law firm of Welby, Stoltenberg, Cimballa & Cook, LLC, in the firm’s Harrisburg Office. After working in Harrisburg for a year, Todd opened the firm’s new Scranton office, where he has been serving as the managing partner since.
Magisterial District Judge
District 15-1-01 Bret Binder
Bret is a local attorney and the founder and managing partner of Binder & Canno, LLC as well as a former law clerk for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. His practice focuses on small businesses, real estate, and commercial litigation. Bret earned his law degree at Villanova University School of Law. Bret served on the West Chester Area School District Board in 2014-15 and has been on the board of numerous local non-profits including the Chester County OIC, which focuses on adult literacy, as well a group dedicated to preserving open space in West Chester. http://bretbinderformdj.com/
District 15-4-01 Analisa Sondergaard (incumbent)
Analisa earned her undergraduate degree from Christian Brothers University in 1991 and her J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1994. She worked in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office from 1995 until 2002. She worked for Rawle & Henderson from 2002 until 2007 and became a Senior Associate at McDonnell & Associates.
District 15-3-01 Keith Eldridge
Keith has been running his own construction company for more than 10 years and owns several rental properties in Montgomery County. In his years as a business owner and landlord, Keith has developed the ability to listen, to communicate effectively, to understand people’s problems and to find the best ways to help them. He is a member of the West Vincent Zoning Hearing Board, where he has gained experience hearing both sides of an issue, referring to law and forming a judgment based on what the law states.
District 15-3-04 Al Iacocca
A Pennsylvania native from Allentown, Al has a Master’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll and graduating magna cum laude from law school. His family law experience extends to being a a certified mediator, with an advanced certification for family law mediaton. Al is admitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court bar as well as the Federal District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania bar, and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
These positions are on the 2017 ballot:
- Chester County Clerk of Courts, Controller, Coroner, Treasurer (4-year terms)
- School Directors (4-year terms): 1/2
- Mayors (4-year terms): all
- Municipal Supervisors (6-year terms except 4 years in Caln and Tredyffrin): 1/3
- Borough Council members (4-year terms): 1/2
- County and state judges: only if seat is open (some may also have a retention vote)
- Magisterial District Justices (6-year term; map above): 1/3 + any now vacant
- Judges of Elections and Majority and Minority Inspectors: all
- Auditors (6-year terms): 1/3, plus a few already vacant
- Tax collectors (4-year terms): all
- Constables (6-year terms): most not till 2021, but many are vacant now
Be sure to check local details in your municipality. Other positions may also open up.