Connelly, Spurgeon, McGinley win in Allegheny County Common Pleas primaries; Mullen wins easily

Connelly, Spurgeon, McGinley win in Allegheny County Common Pleas primaries

Tribune-Review | Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Pittsburgh attorney Patrick Connelly locked up victories in the Democratic and Republican primaries to be a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, according to preliminary election results Tuesday.

Six candidates competed in the primary for a shot at two open seats on the court.

David Spurgeon, an adjunct professor at Duquesne University School of Law and Point Park University, won the second spot in the Democratic primary with 23 percent of the vote. Connelly had 28 percent with 97 percent of precincts reporting.

On the Republican side, in addition to Connelly, Mary C. McGinley, a partner at law firm Meyer, Unkovic and Scott LLP, won with 22.5 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

All six cross-filed as Democrats and Republicans.

Judges serve a 10-year term.

Connelly, McGinley, Spurgeon gain Allegheny County judicial nominations

Connelly, McGinley, Spurgeon gain Allegheny County judicial nominations

May 17, 2017
Janice Crompton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Three candidates will square off for two seats on the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in November.

Lawyer Patrick Connelly of Lawrenceville won Republican and Democratic nominations. He was joined on the Republican side by lawyer Mary McGinley of Squirrel Hill and on the Democratic side by appointed Judge David Lee Spurgeon of Mckeesport, who is seeking a full, 10-year term.
Each party was choosing from among six candidates, all of whom have cross-filed. The nominees will face off in the Nov. 7 general election for two open seats on the bench.

Judge Spurgeon, 46, of McKeesport, was appointed to fill a temporary vacancy on the bench last year and served for 18 years as a prosecutor with the county district attorney’s office. He was the first prosecutor in the county to pursue violators of Protection From Abuse orders. He finished a distant on the Republican side.

Mr. Connelly 49, of Lawrenceville, has his own practice and has served as a trial lawyer for 23 years, primarily in civil litigation. He is a certified mediator, and was appointed by the federal judiciary as a mediator, arbitrator and neutral evaluator.

Mr. Connelly was chairman of the City of Pittsburgh’s Ethics Hearing Board, and currently serves as a hearing officer for the Allegheny Retirement Board.

Ms. McGinley, 39, of Squirrel Hill, is a partner at Meyer Unkovic and Scott LLP specializing in representing families and individuals in estate litigation matters, and companies in contractual and other commercial disputes.

Ms. McGinley comes from a well-known family in legal circles. Her father, John “Jack” McGinley has been a lawyer for nearly 40 years and her uncle, Judge Bernard L. McGinley, has served on the state Commonwealth Court for 30 years.

There are currently 41 judges in the county court split into four divisions: civil, criminal, family and orphan’s.

The salary for a new judge is $180,000, and the term is 10 years, after which judges face retention elections.

Other candidates in the race included Jessica Lynch, 50, of Aspinwall; Pauline M. Calabrese, 54, of Penn Hills; and Rosemary Crawford, 53, of Hampton.

Janice Crompton:  jcrompton@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1159 or on Twitter @janicecrompton.

Allegheny County Labor Council Endorses Patrick Connelly for Judge

Peduto clears difficult hurdle by winning county labor endorsement

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s re-election bid has cleared another hurdle, having secured the endorsement of the Allegheny County Labor Council late last week.

In a statement, Mr. Peduto hailed the result as “a testament to the hard work that we have done for working families over the past few years.”

The council, which includes representatives from the area’s major unions, interviewed candidates Friday. Candidates must earn a two-thirds majority to secure labor’s backing.

Candidates in some other competitive races were unable to clear that bar.

In City Council District 4, the Labor Council made no endorsement in a heated primary between Anthony Coghill and Ashleigh Deemer. The same was true in Allegheny County Council District 12, where Jim Ellenbogen faces a challenge from Robert Palmosina.

Getting the endorsement is “difficult especially in a contested race, where the candidates may all have supporters in the room,” said Labor Council executive vice-president Darrin Kelly.

Mr. Peduto’s rivals, City Councilwoman Darlene Harris and Homewood minister John Welch, downplayed his win.

On Monday, Mrs. Harris attributed the outcome to Mr. Peduto’s fundraising advantages. But she said, “I’m very confident where the union votes will go” on the May 16 primary.

At a Saturday campaign event, Rev. Welch said, “We operate in a spirit of fear in this city. They’re afraid not to [back] the incumbent.”

Labor leaders also backed incumbent Sheriff Bill Mullen over challenger George Satler, while endorsing Patrick Connelly and David Spurgeon for Common Pleas Court.

Mr. Peduto has been consolidating support from traditional Democratic power bases. The Allegheny County Democratic Committee endorsed him earlier this month. Neither it nor the labor council backed his 2013 election (he did not seek the party endorsement in 2013).

The council also recommended statewide judicial candidates for endorsement by the state’s AFL-CIO.

For state Supreme Court, it backed the lone Democrat, Allegheny Common Pleas Judge Dwayne Woodruff. For the four seats on Superior Court, it supported Allegheny County attorney Bill Caye, Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Debbie Kunselman, Philadelphia County Common Pleas Judge Maria McLaughlin, and Geoff Moulton, who is serving on the court in an interim capacity.

For Commonwealth Court, local labor leaders recommended Philadelphia County Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler and currently serving Judge Joe Cosgrove.

Chris Potter: cpotter@post-gazette.com.

Allegheny County Democratic Committee endorses Patrick Connelly

From the Pittsburgh Courier:

Dems endorse incumbents …Peduto faces two challengers

Though he beat city Councilwoman Darlene Harris by more than 100 votes in the race to win the Allegheny County Democratic endorsement, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto will still face her in the May 16 Primary Election—but not alone.

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Dean of Students Rev. John Welch is remaining in the race despite not seeking the endorsement.

“It’s time for someone new who isn’t tied to the political machinery,” said Welch.

Harris, who has served as District 1 Councilwoman since Luke Ravenstahl was appointed mayor in 2006, took an early shot at Peduto’s frequent travel saying she’ll be a “full-time” mayor.

“I won’t be flying around all over the place,” she said.

The County Democratic Committee also endorsed Sheriff Bill Mullen who faces a primary challenge from retired city police Det. George Satler. It also endorsed three incumbent—and unopposed—city council members: Dan Gilman, Danny Lavelle and Theresa Kail-Smith.

In the contested race for retiring Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak’s District 4 seat, the committee endorsed Anthony Coghill. He will face off against Mark Johnson, Gary McBurney and Ashleigh Deemer, Rudiak’s chief of staff. Cletus Cibrone-Abate is the lone Republican seeking the seat.

As with city council, the committee endorsed incumbents Sylvia Wilson, Terry Kennedy and Carolyn Klug, as well as former city Councilman Sala Udin, who is seeking the seat being vacated by Thomas Sumpter.

To fill the two vacancies on Common Pleas Court, the committee gave the nod to attorneys Patrick Connelly and David Spurgeon.

To vote in the Primary you must register with either the Republican or Democratic Party. The last day to register is April 17. Absentee ballots will be mailed beginning May 2 and must be returned May 12.