Six hopefuls seek Allegheny County Dems' endorsement for judge

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.Updated 45 minutes ago Six attorneys hoping to become Common Pleas Judges filed letters of intent to seek the endorsement of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee. The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has...

Six hopefuls seek Allegheny County Dems' endorsement for judge

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Updated 45 minutes ago

Six attorneys hoping to become Common Pleas Judges filed letters of intent to seek the endorsement of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.

The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has two open seats. Judges serve 10-year terms.

The deadline to file letters of intent was 5 p.m. Friday. The committee's endorsement meeting is March 5, and the Democratic primary is May 16.

The attorneys seeking the committee's endorsement, in alphabetical order, are:

Pauline Calabrese

Originally from Bloomfield, Calabrese, 54, has practiced law for 25 years with a concentration in family law, according to her campaign website. She earned her law degree from Duquesne University's School of Law.

She and her husband, Nick, also an attorney, live in Penn Hills with their five children.

Patrick Connelly

Connelly, 49, of Lawrenceville, is a former partner with Summers, McDonnell, Hudock & Guthrie. He has more than 20 years of experience focusing on civil law, according to a news release announcing his candidacy.

“I enter this race ... because I believe I can make a difference,” he said. “Most of the progress we have made on issues important to Democrats in recent history hasn't been the result of legislative process but due to actions taken by judges in courts at every level.”

Elliot Howsie

On March 19, 2012, Howsie was named chief public defender at the Allegheny County Public Defender's Office, the first black attorney to hold that position.

Howsie also spent five years as an assistant district attorney in the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, giving him experience as a prosecutor and a defender.

“I have an extremely unique perspective that no other judicial candidate has,” Howsie said at a news conference to announce his candidacy Feb. 7 on the City-County Building steps. “I'm not running as an African-American candidate but as the most qualified candidate.”

Mary McGinley

McGinley has practiced law for 15 years at Meyer, Unkovic and Scott LLP, where she is a partner and a member of the firm's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, according to her campaign website.

She touts her deep Pittsburgh roots, noting that her family “has owned a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers since the 1940s.”

McGinley, 39, lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband, Patrick Earley, and their two children: Kristina, who was adopted from Russia, and Jack, who was adopted from China.

David Spurgeon

Last summer, Gov. Tom Wolfe appointed Spurgeon to serve as an Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judge after the seat was vacated by Judge Kathleen Mulligan.

Spurgeon, 45, of McKeesport, previously served as a deputy district attorney. He is an adjunct professor at Duquesne University School of Law and Point Park University.

Andrew Szefi

Szefi, 45, of Mt. Lebanon, is Allegheny County solicitor.

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond in Virginia and his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

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