News

Three to vie for two judge seats on York County Court bench in November

Written by Ed Mahon, York Daily Record | May 20, 2015 12:05 PM
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Photo by Kate Penn, York Daily Record / Sunday News

Common Pleas judge candidate Neil Slenker hands out information at the Dover Community Building in Dover Township during Tuesday's primary. Slenker failed to get either the Republican or Democratic nomination for the fall.

(York) -- Three candidates are set to compete for two open seats on the York County Court of Common Pleas in the fall, as voters gave a split verdict Tuesday.

Michael W. Flannelly, the county solicitor and a former county judge, won both the Republican and Democratic nominations for the bench.

N. Christopher Menges of Warrington Township won the Republican nomination, while Kathleen J. Prendergast of York won the Democratic nomination. Flannelly, Menges and Prendergast are all registered Republicans.

In all, seven candidates sought both the Republican and Democratic nominations for two open seats on the York County Court of Common Pleas. The seats being filled were left empty by the retirements of Judge Sheryl Ann Dorney and Judge Penny L. Blackwell, who remains active as a senior judge.

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Photo by Submitted to York Daily Record

Kathleen Prendergast

Flannelly has run for judge several times before and lost, including in 2013 in a two-candidate race against former U.S. Rep. Todd Platts.

"It's just a total thrill to be in this position tonight," he said, later adding, "Because I've had those bad results in the past, I never quite believed it until over 90 percent of the votes were in. Then it started to feel real to me at that point."

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Photo by Submitted to York Daily Record

Michael Flannelly

A Flannelly victory isn't guaranteed in the November election, but he will have an advantage that will be difficult to overcome, said Bob Kefauver, chairman of the Democratic Party of York County. Because he will be both the Republican and Democratic nominee, anyone who votes for a straight party ticket in the fall will be voting for Flannelly.

Alex Shorb, chairman of the York County Republican Committee, said he hopes lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf consider appointing Flannelly to the bench to fill a vacancy, since he got both the Republican and Democratic nominations.

Flannelly was temporarily appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Tom Corbett after the sudden death of Judge Clarence "Chuck" Patterson in 2011. Flannelly served a year-and-a-half on the bench before stepping down after the November 2013 election.

This year, about 80 percent of respondents in the local bar association's judicial candidate poll rated Flannelly "highly qualified." He led the other candidates in that rating.

Even though all three candidates in the fall are registered Republicans, the local party will be supporting its nominees, Shorb said. Kefauver said he doesn't expect the local Democratic Party to invest resources in the race.

During the campaign, Menges said he wanted to serve in family court and would ask to be assigned there for his term. He advocated for a one judge-one family system, in which the same judge deals with all of a family's family court legal problems from beginning to end.

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Photo by Submitted to York Daily Record

Chris Menges

Prendergast's campaign highlighted her "extensive family law experience," and she said she would bring both experience and diversity to the bench.

Results

The top two Republican and Democratic vote-getters will move into the fall.

Democratic
Carl Anderson 2,873
Karen Comery 3,241
Michael Flannelly 4,019
Christopher Menges 2,447
Kathleen Prendergast 5,063
Thomas Reilly 1,764
Neil Slenker 3,292
Republicans
Carl Anderson 1,738
Karen Comery 3,929
Michael Flannelly 9,885
Christopher Menges 8,615
Kathleen Prendergast 5,038
Thomas Reilly 5,647
Neil Slenker 8,061

This article comes to us through a partnership between the York Daily Record and WITF. 

Published in News, York

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