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Silvis, Monzo win face-off for Westmoreland judge seat

Rich Cholodofsky
| Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 11:03 p.m.
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, arrives at the Rialto in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, to speak with supporters and campaign volunteers, including Larisa Debich (right) and her family who volunteered for Silvis' campaign.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, arrives at the Rialto in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, to speak with supporters and campaign volunteers, including Larisa Debich (right) and her family who volunteered for Silvis' campaign.
Lisa Monzo, candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, greets supporter David Shelapinsky as guests arrive at her election night party in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Lisa Monzo, candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, greets supporter David Shelapinsky as guests arrive at her election night party in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
Lisa Monzo is a candidate for a seat on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
Lisa Monzo is a candidate for a seat on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
Jim Silvis is a candidate for the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
Jim Silvis is a candidate for the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
Anthony Bompiani is a candidate for a seat on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
Anthony Bompiani is a candidate for a seat on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.
Supporters of Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, turn out for his  primary election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Supporters of Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, turn out for his primary election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, checks incoming results at his election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, checks incoming results at his election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, at his municipal primary election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, at his municipal primary election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, speaks with supporters at his primary election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Anthony Bompiani, running for the judicial vacancy on Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, speaks with supporters at his primary election night party at Waterworks Pub and Event Center in South Greensburg on Tuesday May 16, 2017.
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, checks his phone while waiting at his after-party at the Rialto in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, as election results come in.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, checks his phone while waiting at his after-party at the Rialto in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, as election results come in.
Lisa Monzo, (middle), candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, talks with party guests as her daughter, Megan  (left), son Connor and husband, Jeff (right), check as results come in at Cafe Barista in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Lisa Monzo, (middle), candidate for Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, talks with party guests as her daughter, Megan (left), son Connor and husband, Jeff (right), check as results come in at Cafe Barista in Greensburg on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Lawyer Jim Silvis and attorney Lisa Monzo will continue their campaigns to become a Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court judge in November.

Silvis, 41, of Unity finished first among the three candidates in the Republican primary. According to unofficial results from the county election bureau, Silvis edged out Youngwood District Justice Anthony Bompiani by just 554 votes.

With all 305 precincts reporting, Silvis received 41 percent of the vote; Bompiani received 38 percent; and Monzo had 22 percent in the Republican primary.

Monzo, the lone registered Democrat in the field, was the top vote-getter in that party's primary. She received 42 percent; Bompiani, 31 percent; and Silvis, 26 percent.

Westmoreland County judges earn $178,868 a year.

Monzo, who is making her first bid for public office, said she was looking forward to the two-candidate race in November against Silvis.

“I'm very grateful to the people who voted for me and the people who helped me. I will approach the race the same way I approached the primary. My message is that I am concerned about families. That is what my focus has been and what it will be,” Monzo said.

Silvis' victory in the Republican primary was in doubt until the final results were tallied as he held just a slim lead over Bompiani most of the night.

“It was a long wait and I was on pins and needles,” Silvis said. “We didn't know who won until those last precincts were counted.”

Bompiani conceded the race and said he would not seek a recount.

“Those two ran great races. It just wasn't in the cards for me tonight,” Bompiani said.

Monzo and Silvis will seek to fill a vacancy on the Common Pleas Court left by the death last year of longtime Judge Debra Pezze.

According to campaign finance reports filed this month in Harrisburg, the three-way primary race has become one of the costliest in the state. The candidates combined have spend more than $268,000 during their campaigns since Jan. 1.

Silvis serves as an assistant solicitor for Westmoreland County and is a partner in his private law practice, O'Connell and Silvis in Greensburg. It's his second attempt to win a 10-year judge seat; he lost in the 2015 primaries.

Monzo, 50, of Hempfield is making her first run for public office. She works in a Greensburg law firm with her husband and father.

She previously served as a law clerk for two county judges and has taught as an adjunct law professor at Seton Hill University.

Bompiani, 38, of Hempfield is a former assistant public defender and private attorney. He was elected to serve a six-year term as district judge in Youngwood in 2015.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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