Democrat Wins PA Supreme Court Seat Vacated by Republican

By Jerry McConway, updated on November 8, 2023

Pennsylvania is considered a battleground state in national electoral politics, but it is and has been primarily controlled by Democrats for decades.

The state’s Supreme Court is no different, with Democrats having held a 4-3 edge heading into this year's election.

That edge was expanded after Democrat Daniel McCaffery won his election, defeating Carolyn Carluccio, the presiding judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, handing Democrats a 5-2 edge in the court.

Talking Points…

  • Election issues
  • Candidates speak
  • Analysis

Election Issues

Races like this are not quite as alluring to voters as some others, especially in an off year, but this race was significant in that it would keep the edge minimal and possibly allow the GOP to retake the court when another seat came up for election.

Democrats played their trump card here, however, going after Carluccio on abortion, which has been an issue that has driven Democrat voters to the polls.

This particular election also lacked big-name recognition, as polling showed that the overwhelming majority of voters knew nothing about these candidates.

Had the RNC invested more money and a better strategy in the race, perhaps by getting Carluccio’s name out there in a more positive way, it probably could have won this election.

Instead, it became a mud-slinging contest and all about abortion rights, and McCaffery ended up getting the votes.

Candidates Speak

Carluccio took the loss gracefully, stating:

The people have spoken, and while the outcome was not what we hoped for, the democratic process has once again prevailed.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to my supporters for your time and your belief in our vision for a fair and impartial judiciary.

McCaffrey was honored to have been put on the bench by voters, stating:

I’m humbled by the responsibility Pennsylvanians have entrusted in me and I intend to serve our commonwealth and every community across Pennsylvania by defending our Constitution and ensuring our society is more fair, inclusive, and accepting.


The GOP is getting crushed on abortion, having lost two mid-term elections, a general election, and now an off-year election on the same issue.

This is exactly why Democrats never want to see the abortion issue settled because they know that as long as they can portray the GOP as extremists on this issue, it is and will remain an election winner for them.

Anyone ignoring these results or dismissing them as an outlier to promote the idea of a red wave coming in 2024 is wrong.

If the GOP wants to win in 2024, this is another warning sign that things need to change immediately, or yet another golden opportunity will be lost.

There will be no red wave in 2024, but it does not mean that the right messaging cannot flip this election to allow Republicans to regain complete control of Congress.

As far as the White House is concerned, well, that situation remains fluid based on what happens in Trump’s legal cases and if he wins the nod in the primary.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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