- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Democrats and Republicans will choose their nominees for an unprecedented three open seats on the Pennsylvania’s highest court in Tuesday’s primary election. Also on the statewide ballot are Democratic contests for one open seat each on the Superior and Commonwealth courts, the state’s intermediate appellate courts.

In heavily Democratic Philadelphia, the outcome of a six-way mayoral race will all but decide who leads Pennsylvania’s largest city for the next four years. Across the state, voters will decide nominations for local judgeships, municipal offices and school board seats.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Six Democrats and six Republicans are competing for the nominations for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The three candidates in each party who win the most votes will compete in the Nov. 3 general election for 10-year terms on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The outcome could tip the court’s majority in favor of the Democrats for the first time in six years or reaffirm the current GOP majority.

All but one candidate are state or county judges. They have collectively raised more than $5 million, largely for TV air time to bolster their name recognition in a campaign in which judicial ethical rules bar them from making promises about what they would do if elected.

Seeking Democratic nominations are state Superior Court judges Christine Donohue, Anne Lazarus and David Wecht, Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty, Jefferson County Judge John Foradora and Allegheny County Judge Dwayne Woodruff.

The GOP contestants are Supreme Court Justice Correale Stevens, who was appointed to the high court to finish the term of a justice who resigned, Superior Court judges Judy Olson and Cheryl Allen, Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey, Adams County Judge Mike George and Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren.

Competition for the two seats on the mid-level appellate courts is limited to the Democrats.

The Superior Court race is between Allegheny County Judge Robert Colville and Philadelphia Judge Alice Beck Dubow. Colville has vowed to finance his primary campaign exclusively out of his own pocket while Dubow has raised more than $370,000 in her more conventional campaign.

Seeking the Democratic nod for Commonwealth Court are Scranton labor lawyer Todd Eagen and Pittsburgh lawyer Michael Wojcik, a former Allegheny County solicitor.

The Republican candidates, Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano for Superior Court and Pittsburgh lawyer Paul Lalley for Commonwealth Court, were unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

In Philadelphia, where incumbent Mayor Michael Nutter is finishing his second term, the maximum allowed by law, six candidates are jockeying for the nomination. They are former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, former judge Nelson Diaz, former City Councilman Jim Kenney, former Philadelphia Gas Works executive Doug Oliver, former state Sen. Milton Street and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams.

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