13 things to know about Pennsylvania's May 19 Supreme Court primary

  • While Pennsylvania's Supreme Court candidates have raised more than $4 million, that's far less than the more than $9 million raised for the Philadelphia mayoral primary.
  • Pennsylvania’s Democratic Supreme Court candidates outspent Republicans on airtime nearly 10-to-1 as of May 11, even though both parties have the same number of candidates on the ballot.
  • Seven of the 12 court candidates — four Democrats and three Republicans — collectively aired more than 770 broadcast television ads, costing more than $433,000 for air time through May 11.
  • The ad spending in the race is expected to top $2.4 million by Tuesday’s primary, according to the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake, which advocate for less spending in judicial races.
  • Unlike Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race — the sole state supreme court election so far this year — no independent groups have aired ads in the Pennsylvania court race. More than twice as many ads aired about the Wisconsin race than had run for the Pennsylvania court race as of May 11.
  • With a $1.4 million campaign war chest, Democrat and Philadelphia County Judge Kevin Dougherty raised more money than the 11 other candidates.
  • Much of Dougherty’s campaign cash — at least $350,000 — came from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Philadelphia chapter, run by his politically powerful brother, John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty. He also received at least $200,000 from other IBEW branches.
  • Dougherty’s campaign bought $272,000 of airtime through May 11, more than half the ads aired in the Supreme Court race. He’s slated to spend at least $1 million by Tuesday’s primary, according to the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.
  • On the GOP side, Adams County Judge Mike George has raised more than any of the other Republican hopefuls with just over $595,000.
  • More than 80 percent of George’s campaign cash came from a $500,000 donation from longtime friend Gary Lowenthal, the founder of teddy bear line Boyd’s Bears.
  • Democrat and Jefferson County Judge John Foradora was the largest contributor to his own campaign, giving more than $100,000. His wife, Mary Margaret Foradora, was his second largest donor with $62,000.
  • Foradora also received at least $80,000 from Steelers co-owner Peter Varischetti and family.
  • Giving more than $79,000, Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus was the biggest contributor to her Democratic campaign.