Superior Court Judge Cheryl Allen’s bid to become the first Black female elected to the state Supreme Court ended when her 175,654 vote total left her nearly 86,000 vote short of nabbing one of the three available slots in the Republican Primary election.
“I entered this race because during my 25 years as a judge I have witnessed the decline of the High Court, and when I saw an opportunity to be the change I sought, there was no denying it,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
“I’m proud of my fellow Supreme Court candidates for running superb, honorable campaigns. I’m thankful to my talented, generous team for allowing me to be myself, and for helping me put forth a valuable effort in a race about integrity. I’m so thankful to all of you for your faith in me, and in justice for all.”
“Congratulations to Republican judges Judy Olson, Mike George and Anne Covey — and much luck in the general election. My campaign ends here but not my intention to be a voice for justice. Thank you all so much.”
And though Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Dwayne Woodruff managed to amass 20,000 more total votes than Allen in his Democratic Primary race May 19, it still left him nearly 160,000 votes behind the three winners; Judges David Wecht, Christine Donohue and Kevin Dougherty.
In an email sent the following morning, Woodruff also congratulated his opponents, calling them all “exceptional jurists who will represent our party well in the fall.”
“I entered this race because I wanted to bring my work ethic and integrity to our Supreme Court, as well as a diverse and educated opinion,” he wrote. “I love serving our Commonwealth, and while I will not be serving the public as a Supreme Court Justice, I will continue to work for the people as a Family Court Judge in Allegheny County and through all the various boards and organizations that I am already an active part of.”
As with the Supreme Court race, Blacks seeking other judicial offices also faired badly.
Rosemary Crawford finished 6th in the eight-way race for three Common Pleas Court slots, finishing 9,000 votes behind Hugh McGough for the third spot on the Democratic ticket.
In races for the minor judiciary, the results were similar. Though not surprising, attorney Leah Williams Duncan got only 22 percent of the vote in her challenge of North Side Magistrate Judge Robert Ravenstahl, who easily held his seat with 53 percent of the votes cast.
Similarly, in the race to oust Magistrate Judge Derwin Rushing from his North Side seat, neither Deloris Lewis, with 14 percent, nor Clarence Samuel, with 12 percent came close.
Of all the Black judiciary candidates running in the Primary, only Kevin Cooper Jr. won his race for Magisterial District Judge in Pittsburgh’s East End—but his opponents Leah Kirkland and Samuel Gibson were also Black.
In local legislative Primary battles, with 2,069 votes, Pittsburgh Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess easily defeated the split challenge mounted by Andre Young, 1,237 votes, Judy Ginyard, 837 votes, and Twanda Carlisle, with 436 in Distrct 9.
In District 7, Latasha D. Mayes came up short in her effort to become the first gay Black woman elected to city council, falling to incumbent Deb Gross, who took64 percent of the votes.
In what might be deemed a surprise, with 40 percent of the vote, Kevin Carter from Manchester won the Democratic Primary to replace Mark Brentley Sr. on the Pittsburgh School Board.
Third-place finisher Rosemary Moriarty, however, was the only candidate to cross-register on the Republican ticket for that race. She has not decided whether to oppose Carter in November.
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