2017-10-26 / Front Page

Bradford County

— BY CAIN CHAMBERLIN —

While it may be considered an “off-year election,” there is still a great deal of importance attached to the Nov. 7 general election, particularly in the state- and local-level courts.

There are a number of judicial races to be decided, with all four county magisterial district courts on the ballot as well as nine judges on Pennsylvania’s statelevel courts who have terms expiring in December.

Magisterial District Judge Races

Those in Magisterial District 42-3-03 (Towanda) will choose between Bradford County supervised bail officer and Democratic candidate Todd Carr or former U.S. Marine and small business owner Eric Matthews to replace retiring Magisterial District Judge Timothy Clark.

Magisterial District Judges Fred Wheaton (Dist. Court 42-3- 04) in Wysox and Jonathan Wilcox (Dist. 42-3-01) in Troy are running unopposed in their respective districts.

Athens Township Police Chief Larry Hurley will also be running unopposed for the magisterial district judge seat in Athens Township (Dist. Court 42-3-02) after securing both the Republican and Democratic nominations in the May primary.

Judge Michael J. Shaw, who currently holds the seat in District 42-3-02, announced in January that he would not seek reelection amid numerous misconduct charges filed against him in the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline in November 2016. Charges claim he sent inappropriate text messages and had sexual relations with the girlfriend of a drug treatment court participant, had sexual communications with a former county probation officer, sidestepped policy by communicating with treatment court participants via his personal cell phone and communicated with litigants or their relatives on his personal cell phone regarding court matters.

State-Level Court Races

In the race for state Supreme Court Justice, dDemocratic candidate Dwayne Woodruff of Allegheny County will face off against challenging Rpublican and incumbent Justice Sallie Mundy of Tioga County. The two ran unopposed on their respective ballots in May. Currently, the state Supreme Court has a 5-2 Democratic majority.

The ballot will also ask voters if Supreme Court Justices Thomas Saylor (R), Jacqueline Shogan (R) and Debra Todd (D) should each be retained for an additional term.

At the Superior Court level, which takes criminal, civil and family court appeals from counties, voters will select no more than four candidates on the ballot.

Democratic candidates for the court include Philadelphia judges Carolyn Nichols and Maria McLaughlin, Beaver County Judge Deborah Anne Kunselman and current Superior Court Judge Geoff Moulton. Moulton is trying to retain the position, to which he was appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf in June 2016.

Candidates on the Republican side are Blair County Judge Wade Kagarise, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano and Mary Murray, a district judge in Allegheny County.

Jules Mermelstein, a practicing attorney for 37 years, is a Green party candidate for the Superior Court.

As for the Commonwealth Court, an appellate-level court that handles matters in which government agencies are a party, voters will select no more than two on the ballot. Delaware County Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon and Pittsburgh lawyer Paul Lalley are running mates for the Republican party while Democratic candidates include Philadelphia Judge Ellen Ceisler and Pittsburgh lawyer Irene McLaughlin Clark.

Area School Board Races

Kenton Corson will be on the November ballot for a four-year term on the Wyalusing Area School District Board’s Region I while Gene Anne Woodruff and Chad Salsman are seeking Region II appointments and Matthew Muench for Region III.

In the Northeast Bradford School District, Peggy Williams, Debra Moore Hicks and Keith Bonin secured both the Democratic and Republican nominations as school directors back in May. Kim Pitcher will also appear on the Democratic ballot for the NEB school board while Devin W. Brown secured a Republican nomination. Out of the five total candidates, only four will be voted to seats on the board on Nov. 7.

As for the Towanda Area School District, Brady Charles Loren Finogle will run unopposed for Region II while Margaret Munkittrick and John J. Hennessy are seeking four-year terms in Region III.

Due to few competitive municipal primary races, with the majority of officials running unopposed, most will remain with the status quo after the election.

Those who wish to view sample ballots for each Bradford County municipality and ward can find them at www.bradfordcountypa.org by clicking on the “How do I?” in the sidebar and then choosing the “Elections Office” link.

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