(WHTM) – Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Dan McCaffery is projected to win the race to become the state’s next Supreme Court Justice.
McCaffery won the seat by defeating Republican candidate and president judge of Montgomery County Circuit Court, Carolyn Carluccio.
With McCaffery’s projected win, the seven-seat Supreme Court will be composed of five justices elected as Democrats and two elected as Republicans.
“As the son of Irish immigrants who fled their home to escape sectarian violence and to make a better life for their children, tonight is truly remarkable,” said McCaffery. “My parents’ experience led me to a life of service in the military, as a prosecutor, as a Judge, and now as a Justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. I’m humbled by the responsibility Pennsylvanians have entrusted in me and I intend to serve our Commonwealth and every community across Pennsylvania by defending our Constitution and ensuring our society is more fair, inclusive, and accepting. Thank you.”
McCaffery, who announced his candidacy for state Supreme Court in November 2022, will now serve a 10-year term on the Supreme Court.
Shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Carolyn Carluccio released a statement regarding the results of the election:
“I just spoke with Judge McCaffery. The people have spoken, and while the outcome was not what we hoped for, the democratic process has once again prevailed. I want to express my deepest gratitude to my supporters for your time and your belief in our vision for a fair and impartial judiciary. I congratulate my opponent on his victory and wish him the wisdom and strength to uphold the great responsibility that comes with serving on our State Supreme Court. It is my hope that he will serve the interests of justice and the well-being of all Pennsylvanians at heart. To all who have stood by me, know that our efforts have not been in vain. We have sparked important conversations and advocated for the values we hold dear. I remain committed to serving our community and upholding the rule of law as President Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.”Carolyn Carluccio
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro released a statement on X congratulating McCaffery on the victory.
“With your vote for @JudgeMcCaffery, you protected our fundamental freedoms, from Pennsylvania women’s freedom to choose to the freedom to make your voice heard in our democracy. Congratulations, Justice-elect McCaffery.”
The seat on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court was opened following the death of Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat who passed away just months from the mandatory retirement age of 75.
Before his previous election to the Superior Court, McCaffery was an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia. He ran for district attorney in 2009 and lost in the primary. In 2012 he also briefly ran for state attorney general before dropping his campaign and winning a position as a Common Pleas Court Judge in Philadelphia.
McCaffery also served in the Army with the First Calvary Division after attending the United States Military Academy at West Point Prep School. He later studied at Temple University and Temple University School of Law. He is the youngest of seven children and is today the father of two daughters and grandfather to two grandsons.
More than $17 million in campaign dollars were spent on the race, The Associated Press reported in October, as billionaires, labor unions, and trial lawyers sought to sway the outcome.
Third party groups spent millions of dollars on attack ads against both candidates.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade in 2022, Democrats hammered the issue of abortion rights in the state election, attacked Carluccio and argued that the Republican candidate could not be trusted to uphold abortion protections in Pennsylvania.
One ad called her “deceitful and dishonest” and claims that pro-life views were removed from her website.
In response, Carluccio claimed to be apolitical and bipartisan, and said the claims about her website were false. She also said she would uphold the state law that makes abortion legal through 24 weeks.
Leading up to the election she was endorsed by multiple anti-abortion groups including the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania.
Attacks against McCaffery by Commonwealth Leader’s Fund called him “dishonest, deceitful, disgusting” and pointed to when his brother Seamus McCaffery resigned from the Supreme Court nine years ago for sending pornographic emails and included Dan on the email chain.
McCaffery told abc27 that he believes his brother made a mistake but denied being involved in the judicial email scandal.
In January 2023, he was endorsed as the Democratic Party nominee for the Supreme Court seat. During the 2023 primary, he defeated Deborah Kunselman, state Superior Court judge from Beaver County, by nearly 215,000 votes.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court elections occur every 10 years and justices may serve unlimited terms until they reach the age of 75.