HARRISBURG — A Republican district attorney from central Pennsylvania on Wednesday conceded last week’s close election for the fourth and final open seat on the statewide Superior Court.
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said he will not pursue a recount, saying the cost is not justified.
His decision clears the way for Allegheny County District Judge Mary Murray to join the court, which fields civil and criminal appeals from counties.
“I’m really happy to have won, and I’m looking forward to serving the citizens of Pennsylvania,” said Murray, a Republican whose courtroom is in Coraopolis.
The Department of State’s unofficial returns show Murray got about 915,000 votes, some 4,000 more than Stedman.
Stedman was highly recommended by the state bar association, but Murray did not participate in its evaluations.
Murray said her research indicates the lawyers’ group has consistently issued low ratings to district judges. She also said she made “a political decision” to avoid debates and forums.
She said her qualifications include 14 years on the bench and two decades as a lawyer, noting she has signed search warrants and observed drunken-driving checkpoints firsthand.
“I am well qualified for this position,” she said.
Stedman encouraged the Legislature to change the system of partisan elections for appeals courts.
“The simple truth is that most people know very little about most of the candidates,” Stedman said in a statement. “I continue to hear from people that they had no idea who had what rating from the PBA, who was vetted, and who did or did not participate in the candidate forums/debates, let alone what positions they took.”
State officials said two other candidates who also could have sought a recount also waived it.
Democrats won the three other open seats on Superior Court, and the parties split two openings on Commonwealth Court.
Republican state Supreme Court Justice Sallie Mundy, appointed to fill a vacancy last year, won a 10-year term on the high court.