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. ••