The Lead

Crompton concedes; GOP takes three of four statewide judicial races

By: - November 23, 2021 2:49 pm

The Republican candidate in the last contested statewide race conceded on Tuesday, leaving the GOP as winners in three of the four statewide judicial races on the Nov. 2 ballot.

In a tweet early Tuesday afternoon, Republican Drew Crompton, a Commonwealth Court judge appointed in 2019 who was running for a full, 10- year term, acknowledged the victory of his Democratic opponent Lori Dumas, a Philadelphia judge.

As of midday Tuesday, Dumas led Crompton by 22,000 votes for the last of two spots on the Commonwealth Court, according to unofficial results on the Department of State’s website.

Dumas will now join Republican Stacy Wallace, a McKean County attorney, on the court, which is the first stop for lawsuits against the state and other public agencies.

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Current Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson won a seat on the state Supreme Court by about 1  percentage point over Democrat Maria McLaughlin.

Brobson will fill a vacancy left by the retirement of former Justice Thomas Saylor. Brobson’s victory does not change the ideological balance of the court, which will retain a 5-2 liberal majority.

The Supreme Court race alone cost at least $7.7 million, according to a Capital-Star analysis of campaign finance records.

It also opens up another seat on the Commonwealth Court. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will nominate a replacement, who must be approved by the GOP-controlled state Senate. The two branches have butted heads over executive nominees in recent years.

The nominee will have to run in a special election in 2023 to earn a full, 10-year term on the appellate bench. This same process is what put Crompton on the court in a deal between Wolf and the Senate in 2019.

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Finally, Republican Megan Sullivan won an open seat on the state Superior Court over Democrat Timika Lane by almost six percentage points. The court is the first stop in most appeals of criminal or civil cases.

All four of the winners will serve until 2031, when they will be up for retention for another 10- year term.

Crompton conceded before the Department of State finished a recount of his race. Recounts are mandated by state law when the winning margin is less than half a percentage point, unless the losing candidate declines to contest the result. Crompton okayed the recount Nov. 10 when he trailed by about 16,000 votes.

“Our state election process needs improvements but that shouldn’t diminish the victories achieved,” Crompton said in his Tuesday tweet conceding the race. “It has been an honor serving as a Commonwealth Court Judge.”

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Counties are sometimes slow to tabulate results in Pennsylvania because state law does not allow county boards of election to open and count mail-in ballots before Election Day.

This slow count has often fed uncertainty, and was seized on by Republican President Donald Trump in 2020 to spread doubt in his defeat.

Efforts to change state election law, including giving counties more time to count mail-in ballots, are ongoing in Harrisburg. The state House is set to hold a final vote on a second omnibus election reform bill when it returns to session Dec. 13.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.