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May 04, 2021

Philadelphia Bar Association Releases Voter Guide for 2021 Judicial Races

With the May 18 primary approaching, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Campaign for Qualified Judges has put together a voter guide with ratings of judicial candidates for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and Philadelphia Municipal Court, and for Philadelphia-based candidates for statewide appellate courts.

The candidate ratings, which can be found at ElectQualifiedJudges.com along with each candidate’s ballot number, are the result of a rigorous, objective, nonpartisan process by the Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention. The Judicial Commission, which has been issuing judicial candidate recommendations for more than 40 years, is made up of 35 members from a diverse set of legal and community organizations. In 2021, 140 volunteers aided the Commission’s work by serving on the investigative teams that are assigned to do due diligence on each candidate.

“The Judicial Commission is one of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s most significant and impactful efforts,” said Chancellor Lauren P. McKenna. “Through our thorough, objective and nonpartisan process, the Commission aims to help voters make an informed decision when filling out their ballots.”

The 2021 recommendations are as follows:

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Highly Recommended: Maria McLaughlin, Paula Patrick

Superior Court
Recommended: Timika Lane

Commonwealth Court
Recommended: Lori A. Dumas, Sierra Street

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
Highly Recommended: Chris Hall, Michele Hangley, Nick Kamau, Mark J. Moore, John R. Padova
Recommended: Wendi Barrish, Craig Levin, Cateria McCabe, Daniel R. Sulman, Caroline Turner, Betsy Wahl, Tamika Washington
Not Recommended: Terri Booker, Rick Cataldi, Maurice Houston, Patrick J. Moran

Philadelphia Municipal Court
Recommended: George Twardy, Greg Yorgey-Girdy
Not Recommended: Michael C. Lambert, Barbara Thomson

For appellate court candidates, the Judicial Commission voted to accept the ratings for Philadelphia-based candidates by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Commission.

“We strive for the Commission and the investigative teams to represent a cross-section of both the legal and the Philadelphia community,” said Niki T. Ingram, chair of the Commission. “Each investigative team includes a non-lawyer, and the Commission has designated seats for non-members of the bar.”

The Association’s political action committee, the Campaign for Qualified Judges, is mounting a comprehensive voter education campaign around the recommendations. The Campaign for Qualified Judges has pivoted its approach this year to account for the pandemic and the shift to mail-in ballots, focusing on direct mailings to likely voters and a comprehensive campaign on social media and other digital platforms. The Campaign’s 2019 digital campaign garnered 2.1 million impressions and 25,000 clicks.

“We are also continuing the grassroots efforts undertaken in prior election cycles to reach out to wards, community groups and anyone else who will give us a platform to discuss the Commission, its process and its ratings,” said Matt Olesh, chair of the Campaign for Qualified Judges. “We find that our work is most impactful when voters have the opportunity to speak to someone about the process and get responses to any questions they might have about it.”

Sample Ballots

sample ballot
sample ballot
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