Daniel McCaffery defeats Carolyn Carluccio for PA Supreme Court

Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate Daniel McCaffery approaching his polling location in Northeast Philadelphia on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

November 7, 2023

Reproductive rights became the focal point of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race after The Keystone caught Carolyn Carluccio removing anti-abortion language from her website. Daniel McCaffery’s stance on the issue appears to have helped push him over the finish line.

Reproductive rights advocates scored a major victory in Pennsylvania after Democratic candidate Daniel McCaffery defeated Republican Carolyn Carluccio in a race for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The race was called by the New York Times just before 11:00 PM on Tuesday night that McCaffery won his election. McCaffery lead Carluccio 52.7-47.3 with 10% of the vote left to count when the race was called.

McCaffery started Election Day by voting at his polling location in Northeast Philadelphia, and then spent the day greeting voters in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. He capped off the evening by watching the results at his residence with family and friends.

“I think this race really comes down to someone who’s willing to stand up and protect rights and our constitution, constitutional rights, reproductive rights,” McCaffery said in an interview outside his polling site.

“We all understand what happened at the federal level with the Dobbs decision. I think we all understand that could be coming soon to a state near you.”

Democrats turned this election into a referendum on protecting reproductive rights after The Keystone caught Carluccio removing anti-abortion language from her website in May. Planned Parenthood Voters, the reproductive rights group’s political arm, ran a seven-figure ad campaign highlighting the story in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets.

McCaffery was able to overcome the onslaught of money Pennsylvania’s richest billionaire, Jeffrey Yass, spent supporting Carluccio. The Commonwealth Leaders Fund, which receives most of its funding from Yass, spent over $4 million supporting Carluccio through TV ads and political mailers.

McCaffery called Yass’ outsized influence on Pennsylvania politics “corrosive.”

“I think it’s really a corrupting influence. It’s corrosive,” he said.

“Judicial elections used to be kind of sleepy affairs. They used to be the kind of situations where you would talk about your credentials, you’d talk about your qualifications, make sure that you have a well earned history and an established reputation going to be fair and impartial,” McCaffery added. “That’s no longer the case. These have become partisan elections.”


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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