I’m told that the first round of mail-in ballots are going out this week, so its time to look through what’s on the ballot in Garden City and surrounding areas. A reminder that you still have until October 18th to register to vote and until October 26th to request a mail-in ballot. Sample ballots are available on the county website here. Make sure you vote both sides and both pages! I’m going to go through the ballot in order.
Maria McLaughlin (D) is running against Kevin Brobson (R) for a seat on the state supreme court. The state’s supreme court is currently 5 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Chief Justice Thomas Saylor (R) has reached the mandatory retirement age this year, so his seat is open. The Inquirer has recently endorsed McLaughlin.
Timika Lane (D) is running against Megan Sullivan (R) for a seat on the Superior Court, which is the court that hears most appeals. The superior court currently has 7 Democrats, 6 Republicans and two vacancies due to retirements. There’s less press coverage here, but I believe that if elected Timika Lane would be one of only two women of color on the appellate courts.
The same is true of Lori Dumas (D), who is running for one of the two seats on the Commonwealth Court along with David Spurgeon (D), Stacy Wallace (R) and Drew Crompton (R). The Commonwealth Court hears appeals involving the government and other select issues – this includes appeals related to elections. Remember, you can vote for two choices here!
You can find out about the county candidates on pages at the Delaware County Democrats website and Delaware County Republicans website. There are four candidates for the Court of Common Pleas, which is the court that originally hears most trials. Deborah Krull (D) is currently the magisterial district judge in most of Nether Providence and has served on Media Borough’s council before that. Tinu Moss (D), Michael Ruggieri (R) and Deborah Truscello (R) are the other three candidates for the two seats on the Court of Common Pleas. Remember to vote for two!
Two of the five seats on the County Council are up for election. Kevin Madden (D) is running for re-election. Madden’s big issue in his first term has been pushing for prison de-privatization, which the council set in motion earlier this month. Brian Zidek is not running for re-election, so there are three new candidates – Richard Womack (D), Frank Agovino (R) and Joseph Lombardo (R). A secondary effect of this election is that whichever party receives more votes will control the county Board of Elections that oversees elections for the next two years. Again, remember you can vote for two.
Sheriff Jerry Sanders (D) is running for re-election against Lawrence Weigand (R). Controller Joanne Phillips (D) is running for re-election against Sherry Smyth (R). Register of Wills Rachel Ezzell Berry (D) was appointed to the position just before the pandemic so is running in her first election against David Bartholf (R).
Moving on to local candidates, you can find some information about the Democratic candidates here, but I haven’t found a corresponding page for the Republican party – the county Republicans don’t have one listed. In wards 1 and 5, voters are electing a magisterial district judge for district 32-1-30, which is mostly Ridley, but includes our little bit of Nether Providence. District judges hear issues like traffic citations, truancy and bail hearings. Frank Redding (D) is running against George Dawson (R) for this open seat. Both are from Ridley.
There are many school board seats up this year due to resignations and school board members moving away. Here in the Garden City area, Rachel Holbert (D) and Robert Kelly (R) are running for the region 2 seat that Matt Sullivan was appointed to last year. Mary Jo Witkowski-Smith (D) is running against Mark Carroll (R) for the remaining 2 years of the term Mary Jo was appointed to earlier this year.
In the northern part of the township all three seats are up for election. Current board vice-president Kelly Wachtman (D) is running for re-election. The past four years have been a pretty brutal time for the school board – Covid, racism, hiring a new superintendent – and Kelly’s worked hard to get us through all these challenges and more. Kevin Henry (D) and Amy Caruso (R) are also running for the two region two seats open, remember you can vote for two of these three candidates. Confusingly, there’s also a special election to complete the final two years of the third region 1 seat. Nannett Whitsett (D) of South Media is also running against Amy Caruso (R). If elected, Nannett would be the only person of color on the school board and the first elected official from South Media in a long time.
Township-wide in Nether Providence, Kris Laubscher (D) is running for re-election as Tax Collector against Francis Bernhardt (R). Constable incumbent William Sweeney (R) is running for re-election and I (Paul Jacobs – D) am running for the second Constable position in the township. You can vote for both of us.
A number of commissioners are running as well. Here in the 5th Ward, Shaina Barnes (D) is running against George Moore (R) to complete the remaining two years of the term. In the 7th ward, Marty Molloy (D) is running unopposed to complete the two years of the term he was appointed to last year. In the 6th ward, long-time incumbent Robert O’Connor (R) is running against Rebecca Gerber (D) in what’s likely to be the closest election in the 6th ward in decades. Further north in the township, Matt Garson (D-2nd ward) and Kaitlin McKenzie (D-4th ward) are running for re-election in likely less competitive races.
All precinct election board officials are up for election, most precincts have at least two people running, though there’s a few that need write-ins. The ones I know of around here are:
5-1: Michael Bailey (R) for Judge of Election and Jacqueline Knight (D) for Inspector of Election
6-1: Beth Moore (D) for Judge of Election
All three of these are people already serving on the election boards and did not make it onto the ballot this year for one reason or another. If you’re in these precincts, please write these people in – they’re the ones that work on Election Day to make democracy happen.
Finally, on the second page are many judicial retentions. All judges up for retention are Republicans. I’ve heard of no particular information on any of these retention questions beyond that.