Judge Ken Powell faces challenges to keep his seat

Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Ken Pow­ell is the only in­cum­bent in the 20-can­did­ate field, but faces a chal­lenge to keep his seat in this year’s elec­tions.

Pow­ell was a vet­er­an tri­al law­yer for 30 years, in­clud­ing a stint as an as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney. He’s handled 3,000 cases, in­clud­ing some in­volving the death pen­alty.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell ap­poin­ted him to Mu­ni­cip­al Court, where he served for 2½ years. But as a former Re­pub­lic­an ward lead­er, he didn’t get Demo­crat­ic Party sup­port and lost in the 2011 primary.

Gov. Tom Corbett ap­poin­ted him to Com­mon Pleas Court last year, but he needs to be elec­ted to serve a full term.

The primary is May 21. The top six fin­ish­ers win the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion and are al­most as­sured of vic­tory be­cause of the party’s huge voter-re­gis­tra­tion ad­vant­age. Pow­ell is cross-filed to run on the Re­pub­lic­an tick­et.

On the all-im­port­ant Demo­crat­ic bal­lot, he’s lis­ted 11th, be­hind five of the six en­dorsed can­did­ates. He’s rated “Re­com­men­ded” by the Phil­adelphia Bar As­so­ci­ation and been en­dorsed by the 5th, 8th and 9th wards; uni­ons rep­res­ent­ing po­lice of­ficers, fire­fight­ers, iron­work­ers, Team­sters, op­er­at­ing en­gin­eers and long­shore­men; a black min­is­ters group; the Afric­an Carib­bean PAC; and the Liberty City LGBT Demo­crat­ic Club.

A Grays Ferry nat­ive, much of his fam­ily has moved to the North­east. His mom lives in Holme Circle. An aunt resides in May­fair. 

He vo­lun­teers for Pro­ject HOME and is part of a singing group that en­ter­tains young hos­pit­al pa­tients and nurs­ing home res­id­ents.

Pow­ell hopes his ex­per­i­ence counts when voters go to the polls.

“I’m already on the court. I can do the job. No on-the-job train­ing is ne­ces­sary for me,” he said.


U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former con­gress­man Joe Ses­tak are tied atop a new poll on next year’s Demo­crat­ic primary for gov­ernor.

The Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity Polling In­sti­tute con­duc­ted a tele­phone sur­vey of 547 re­gistered Demo­crats.

Schwartz and Ses­tak each re­ceived 15 per­cent in the poll. Ses­tak has yet to de­clare his can­did­acy.

State Treas­urer Rob Mc­Cord and York County busi­ness­man and former state rev­en­ue de­part­ment sec­ret­ary Tom Wolf each had 3 per­cent in the poll. Mc­Cord has not an­nounced his can­did­acy.

Al­lentown May­or Ed Pawlowski and state Sen. Mike Stack, neither of whom of­fi­cially has entered the race, had 1 per­cent apiece.

John Hanger, former sec­ret­ary of the state De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion, had zero per­cent.

The poll did not in­clude an­oth­er former DEP sec­ret­ary, Rhawn­hurst nat­ive Katie Mc­Ginty, or Cum­ber­land County pas­tor, busi­ness­man and au­thor Max My­ers.

The re­mainder of those polled were un­de­cided.


Mc­Ginty last week launched a web­site, katiem­c­ginty.com

The site men­tions her grow­ing up as the ninth of 10 chil­dren of John and Alma Mc­Ginty, a cop and res­taur­ant host­ess. She at­ten­ded Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord Gram­mar School and was va­le­dictori­an at St. Hubert High School.

Her gov­ern­ment ex­per­i­ence in­cludes serving as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Al Gore Jr. and as chair­wo­man of the White House Coun­cil on En­vir­on­ment­al Qual­ity in the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion. She was an ad­viser on Gore’s 2000 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign and spent six years as sec­ret­ary of the Pennsylvania De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion.

The site in­cludes past com­ments about her en­vir­on­ment­al cre­den­tials from former Pres­id­ent Bill Clin­ton and former Gov. Ed Rendell.

Mc­Ginty lives with her hus­band and three chil­dren in Wayne, Chester County.


The Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce’s city con­trol­ler for­um has been pushed back un­til next week.

Ori­gin­ally sched­uled for Fri­day, it will now take place on Thursday, May 16, at Wes­ley En­hanced Liv­ing-Pennypack, at 8401 Roosevelt Blvd.

Doors open at 8:15 a.m. The cost is $10 and in­cludes break­fast.

In­cum­bent Alan Butkovitz, Demo­crat­ic chal­lengers Mark Zecca and Brett Man­del and Re­pub­lic­an Terry Tracy have been in­vited.


Butkovitz last week won the en­dorse­ment of former Phil­adelphia May­or and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.

“Alan has been a dogged con­trol­ler when it comes to at­tack­ing waste,” Rendell said in a state­ment. “He doesn’t go for spec­tac­u­lar head­lines, but only strives to find areas where the city can make more money and im­prove its per­form­ance. He de­serves an­oth­er term as con­trol­ler.”


The Pennsylvania Con­fer­ence of Team­sters has en­dorsed state Rep. Brendan Boyle in next year’s race for the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict seat.

Boyle ad­dressed the uni­on’s an­nu­al con­ven­tion in Her­shey on April 30. Uni­on boss Bill Hamilton made a mo­tion that the Team­sters en­dorse Boyle, and mem­bers con­curred.

“Brendan is a fight­er for work­ing fam­il­ies. We are proud to en­dorse him and will work hard to see him elec­ted,” Hamilton said.


The Com­mit­tee of Sev­enty in­vites voters to call its toll-free elec­tion pro­tec­tion hot line at 1-866-687-8683 with ques­tions about the up­com­ing primary.

Vo­lun­teers trained by Sev­enty will field calls from across Pennsylvania. The pro­gram is sponsored by the Law­yers’ Com­mit­tee for Civil Rights Un­der Law. The dead­line is May 14 at 5 p.m. to re­quest an ab­sent­ee bal­lot. They are avail­able by vis­it­ing www.votespa.com or call­ing toll-free 1-877-868-3772.

Com­pleted bal­lots must be re­ceived by May 17 at 5 p.m.  No photo iden­ti­fic­a­tion is needed to vote. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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