Voters in the primary election on Tuesday, May 21, can vote for up to four candidates for Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge who are on the ballot for their party. There are eleven candidates in total; ten of them are cross filed and appear on both Democratic and Republican Party ballots. The candidates endorsed by the Republican Party are: George Dawson of Ridley, Steven Gerber of Villanova, Beth Naughton-Beck of Wallingford, and Wendy Roberts of Garnet Valley. Endorsed by the Democrats are: Kelly Eckel of Upper Providence, Stephanie Klein of Wallingford, Rick Lowe of Media, and Nusrat Rashid of Chester. Unendorsed candidates are Jennifer DiPillo of Media, Mike Farrell of Springfield, and Deborah Truscello of Folcroft.
Cross-filing: It’s not for everyone.
In Pennsylvania, candidates for judicial positions and for school board are permitted to file on both the Democratic and Republican ballots, providing they get enough signatures on their nominating petitions from voters registered in that party. The number of signatures required varies with the office.
This provision is intended to remove partisanship from elections for judges and school board members. In the May 21 primary, all the endorsed candidates for Court of Common Pleas from both parties — four Democrats and four Republicans — will appear on both the Democratic and Republican ballots. The Democratic ballot will also include three unendorsed candidates (DiPillo, Farrell, and Truscello), and the Republican ballot will include two unendorsed candidates (DiPillo and Truscello).
The four highest vote-getters in each party’s primary will run in November as the that party’s candidates. So a registered Republican who is one of the top four in the Democratic primary can run as a Democrat in November, and vice versa.
How do candidates get endorsed?
The four Democrats endorsed for Court of Common Pleas were the top vote getters at a February convention of nearly 900 elected officials and Democratic committee members from throughout the county. They were selected from a field of 10 candidates, all of whom participated in a series of forums and meetings before the convention to seek support.
The endorsed Republican candidates were chosen at a meeting of about 150 party leaders.
Cross-filing is also a feature of Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board races.
Democrats in Region 2 of the WSSD School Board will also see a cross-filing challenge, with three candidates running for two seats. Robert Reiger of Wallingford, the incumbent vice president of the school board, has cross-filed in the Democratic primary, and will face Democratic incumbent Michele Downie of Wallingford and Democratic challenger Lawrence M. Kutys of Rose Valley. In the Republican primary, Reiger and Downie are unopposed, as Downie has cross-filed but Kutys has not.
There are no primary challenges to Democrats running in WSSD Districts 1 and 3 (3 represents most of Swarthmore). There are no Republican candidates at all in those districts.