2019 state appeals court election roundup

On November 5, there were two state judgeships up for election in Kentucky, six up in Pennsylvania, and three up in Washington state. They are among five states in 2019—Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin—that scheduled elections for 17 appeals court judgeships. This included three state supreme court justice positions and 14 intermediate appellate court judgeships.
 
  • Kentucky: Christopher Nickell defeated Whitney Westerfield to win the Kentucky Supreme Court 1st District judgeship, and Jacqueline Caldwell defeated Michael Caperton to win the Kentucky Court of Appeals 3rd District, Division 1 judgeship. Both were nonpartisan special elections.
  • Pennsylvania: Two seats on the Pennsylvania Superior Court were up for partisan election, and the race remained too close to call as of November 7. The two leading vote recipients were Daniel McCaffery (D) and Megan McCarthy King (R) with 25.74% and 25.57% of the vote, respectively; Amanda Green-Hawkins (D) trailed in third place with 24.95% and Christylee Peck (R) was in fourth at 23.74%. Four sitting judges—Kevin Brobson and Patricia McCullough on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and Anne Lazarus and Judith F. Olson on the Pennsylvania Superior Court—all won retention elections with more than 70% of the vote.
  • Washington: A trio of Washington Court of Appeals judges—John Chun, Lori Smith, and Anne Cruser—won re-election unopposed. All three were nonpartisan special elections; the incumbents had been appointed to vacancies on the court in either June 2018 or February 2019.
  • Wisconsin held its state judicial elections for four seats in February and April.
  • Louisiana had one seat on the ballot in March, but it has another up for general election on November 16. William J. Crain (R) and Hans J. Liljeberg (R) are running in that special election to fill the District 1 seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court that was vacated by Greg Guidry (R), who was appointed to a federal judgeship earlier this year.
 
In 2020, there are 280 state appeals court judgeships scheduled to be on the ballot in 36 states. This includes 81 state supreme court justice positions across 35 states and another 199 intermediate appellate court judgeships across 29 states. These totals are similar to the 2018 election cycle, which featured 296 state judgeships up for election.
 



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Daniel Anderson

Daniel Anderson is a managing editor at Ballotpedia and can be reached at daniel.anderson@ballotpedia.org

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