The mad rush for Democratic City Committee endorsements has culminated in the picking of the ballot positions for the primary. Dozens of would-be judges circulate petitions, sought support of ward leaders and began raising funds. But one of the key features of a low-turnout election in Philadelphia is ballot position. Ballot position separates literally the men from the boys and the contenders from the non-contenders.
Interestingly, among those men separated from the boys are several women. SIERRA STREET drew a respectable ballot position and was endorsed. But it did not hurt that she is a famous name and that she is a young, attractive, minority candidate. Drawing a very bad down position was CHRISTINE HOPE, who drew last. As of this report she was still considering remaining in the race for judge and running on the slogan â€œHope at Lastâ€. She will require additional fundraising to help overcome her bad ballot position.
Most politicians and those who support politicians are chalk players. And the perception over positive ballot position can help candidates gain support, raise money, and crush their competition. City CONTROLLER ALAN BUTKOVITZ is already front-running against three lesser-known opponents. Not only does he have momentum, he has incredible luck. He drew the number-one ballot position for his office.
Another Northeast Philadelphia Candidate, attorney DAN McCAFFERY drew the seventh spot as a candidate for the Court of Common Pleas. Dan also has a very famous name. His brother is Supreme Court JUSTICE SEAMUS McCAFFERY and Dan has experience running citywide. He ran an aggressive yet unsuccessful campaign for District Attorney against SETH WILLIAMS. Dan began to run against KATHLEEN KANE and PATRICK MURPHY for State Attorney General but suspended the campaign and threw his support to Kane. He is now in a catbird seat in the race for judge.
Speaking of judicial positions, the resignation of convicted Supreme Court JUSTICE JOAN ORIE MELVIN leaves a vacancy on Pennsylvaniaâ€™s high court. The question will be what deals can be made for the candidate who fills the vacancy. Currently the court is three Democrats to three Republicans. CHIEF JUSTICE RON CASTILLE has stated the court can carry on its business even with the vacancy, but he would prefer to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. Among the names floated on the Republican side are power attorney BILL SASSO and possibly former Montgomery Co. DA BRUCE CASTOR. Castor has indicated he may want to take on GOV. TOM CORBETT in the Republican primary. Appointing Castor to the Supreme Court vacancy might reduce the chances to nil of that primary challenge. Sasso is respected by both Democrats and Republicans and is chairman of the law firm Stradley Ronon. Could Sasso afford to leave the large firm, even for a short amount of time to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court? Probably not, but the pressure is not to be underestimated.
Back to the subject of the Court of Common Pleas, another surging female candidate was DAWN TANCREDI. Although Tancredi is youthful, she has paid her dues to the Democratic Party in Philadelphia. She has represented a number of constituents with ties to the Democrats in a pro bono capacity. This gave her the inside track to receive the partyâ€™s endorsement.