The Dems Flip a Judge Seat

Bucks County’s vote on a seat for a Commonwealth Judgeship was a bellwether for all of Pennsylvania. In fact, Bucks County was an eerie predictor of almost every race statewide. On Tuesday, November 23, after an automatic recount because the results were too close for the second place finishers, Lori A. Dumas, the Democratic candidate, was confirmed the winner. In Bucks County, the revised vote was 90,157 for Dumas and 90,069 for John Andrew “Drew” Crompton, the current holder of the seat.

What that means is that the Commonwealth Court, one of two appellate courts, goes from seven GOP judges and two Democrats to six GOP judges and three Democrats. It’s a start.

Especially when you consider that the volatile issues of mask mandates and vaccinations and free speech get bounced around judges in appeals courts throughout Pennsylvania for rulings.

Judge of the Commonwealth Court Bucks County

Stacy Marie Wallace, a Republican, took the other judgeship, replacing another Republican, both in Bucks county and in the statewide election. David Lee Spurgeon fell far behind.

Bucks County Beacon News: Lawsuits are leading to more recounts in other Bucks County races.

The loser, Drew Crompton, was appointed to his seat by Gov. Wolf in 2019, in a compromise with Senate leaders. Crompton was no Weak Willy, a move by Wolf to put a moderate GOP candidate into a judgeship. If only. These appointments have to be approved by a two-thirds vote.

Crompton was a longtime Republican party operative, often referred to as the 51st Senator, and former chief of staff for Pennsylvania Senate Pro-Tempore Joe Scarnati. You can’t get more GOP-connected than that. In making the appointment Wolf was trying to appease the Republican Senate so he could pass an increase in the minimum wage. Guess what? It didn’t work.

Instead, in this off-year election, state wide, the electorate rejected Crompton in favor of a black judge from Philadelphia. Lori Dumas, who has served as a judge on the court of common pleas, will now sit until 2031 on the Commonwealth Court, earning a salary of $202,898.

Judges got a raise this year. People earning minimum wage did not.

Judge Dumas will be the only Black person among the nine judges on the Commonwealth Court, and only the second Black judge among the 31 judges in Pennsylvania’s appellate court system, according to WHYY, citing Carolyn H. Nichols, who sits on the Supreme Court, as the other one.

Bucks County voted for Judge Nichols, a Democrat, as one of four candidates for Superior Court judge in 2017. Year one of the Trump Regime.

Carolyn H Nichols
Carolyn H. Nichols

In Bucks County this year as in the rest of Pennsylvania, with the GOP Revival, paid for by multiple conservative PACS, Megan Sullivan defeated the Democrat Tamika Lane from Philadelphia for one seat on the Superior Court. The Superior Court is now 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats.

Just as in Bucks County, the Republican Kevin Brobson defeated Maria McLaughlin in the race for a seat on the Supreme Court. (McLaughlin will retain her Democratic seat on the Commonwealth Court, which she holds until 2017.) But that means that Gov. Wolf has to find a just-right Republican candidate for a vacancy on the Commonwealth Court.

If the Republican Senate will approve any such person by a two-thirds vote.

Linda Lee

Linda Lee

A former editor and reporter at The New York Times, Linda Lee has written seven books, and started a magazine about real estate and design in Miami. While her interest lies in Bucks County, her family lives near Harrisburg. She has a Shih Tzu named Yolo.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required

your support of the Beacon is an investment in a progressive future for Bucks County – a future where we as a community continue to make strides in achieving social, economic, and racial justice with an environmentally sustainable future.