Jewish Candidates Enjoy Election Day. Mostly

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For Jewish candidates at state and local levels, Pennsylvania’s primary election on May 18 was mostly a day for celebration.

In perhaps one of the most high-profile races in the commonwealth, incumbent District Attorney of Philadelphia Larry Krasner soundly defeated Democratic challenger Carlos Vega, a former prosecutor who Krasner fired back in 2018.

The Associated Press called the race for Krasner that night as his margin of victory grew and grew, with the incumbent eventually winning by nearly 30 points. Krasner, the longtime defense and civil rights attorney first elected in 2017, will face off against Republican Charles Peruto, Jr. this fall in a race that Krasner will be heavily favored to win.


Maria McLaughlin | Photo by R.D. Gallego

Maria McLaughlin, profiled in the Jewish Exponent in March, was unchallenged in her bid to be the Democratic nominee for a soon-to-be-open seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. McLaughlin, who grew up in Overbrook Park and spent nearly 20 years as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, previously served on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. With Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican, set to retire, McLaughlin’s election to the court could create a 6-1 majority for Democrats. She’ll run against Republican Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson this fall.

In Philadelphia, Wendi Barish, Betsy Wahl, Daniel Sulman and Craig Levin were all successful in their bids to join the group of eight Democratic jurists who will look to serve on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas this fall. Among all 16 candidates, only Nick Kamau received more votes than Barish.

Craig Levin | Courtesy of Craig Levin for Judge
Daniel Sulman | Photo by Kevin Geary

And finally, Rebecca Rhynhart, who has been city controller since 2018, went unchallenged in her campaign for the Democratic nomination for the same position. The former chief administrative officer for Mayor Jim Kenney is expected to retain her position this fall, with some political forecasters seeing higher office on the horizon for her.

At the Superior Court level, two Jewish Democratic jurists, Bryan Neft and Jill Beck, were defeated by Timika Lane. Lane will now face off against Republican primary winner Megan Sullivan this fall.

In Bucks County, Amir Stark finished second in the Republican primary for the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.

jbernstein@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0740

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