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Silvis elected Westmoreland Common Pleas Court judge

Rich Cholodofsky
| Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, 10:57 p.m.
Candidate for Westmoreland county judge Jim Silvis, left, is greeted by his sister Liz Aquino as he arrives at his election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Candidate for Westmoreland county judge Jim Silvis, left, is greeted by his sister Liz Aquino as he arrives at his election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Candidate for Westmoreland Court of Common Pleas Judge, Lisa Monzo (right) watches results come in with family and supporters during the candidate's election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at DeNunzio's in Jeannette.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Candidate for Westmoreland Court of Common Pleas Judge, Lisa Monzo (right) watches results come in with family and supporters during the candidate's election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at DeNunzio's in Jeannette. .
Candidate for Westmoreland Court of Common Pleas Judge, Lisa Monzo, is greeted by her mother-in-law Carol Corna after arriving for the election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at DeNunzio's Italian Restaurant n Jeannette.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Candidate for Westmoreland Court of Common Pleas Judge, Lisa Monzo, is greeted by her mother-in-law Carol Corna after arriving for the election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at DeNunzio's Italian Restaurant n Jeannette. .
Candidate for Westmoreland Court of Common Pleas Judge, Lisa Monzo, gives a welcome hug to supporter and friend Ashley Crise of Ruffdale during the candidate's election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at DeNunzio's Italian Restaurant in Jeannette.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Candidate for Westmoreland Court of Common Pleas Judge, Lisa Monzo, gives a welcome hug to supporter and friend Ashley Crise of Ruffdale during the candidate's election night party Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 at DeNunzio's Italian Restaurant in Jeannette. .
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, speaks with a supporter at an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, speaks with a supporter at an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, checks incoming election results during an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, checks incoming election results during an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, speaks with a supporter at an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, speaks with a supporter at an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, speaks with a supporter at an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Jim Silvis, candidate for Westmoreland county judge, speaks with a supporter at an election night watch party at The Rialto in Greensburg, Pa. on Tuesday Nov. 07, 2017.

Republican Jim Silvis will be Westmoreland County's newest Common Pleas Court judge.

Silvis, 42, of Unity, defeated Democrat Lisa Monzo on Tuesday to win a seat on the county bench. The post has been vacant for more than a year after the death of Judge Debra Pezze.

With 299 of 305 precincts reporting, Silvis received 55 percent of the vote to Monzo's 45 percent. All results are unofficial until certified by the county's election bureau.

Silvis, speaking from a crowded celebration party at the Rialto Cafe in Greensburg, said his campaign, which focused on family and community issues, resonated with voters.

“That's who we are. Voters really wanted to see that and not twisting things around. They wanted to see who we are,” he said.

Silvis will serve a 10-year term and earn an annual salary of $178,868 when he takes office in January. He likely will be assigned to family court.

Silvis has been practicing law since 2001 and is a partner in the Greensburg-based firm of O'Connell and Silvis. While his practice primarily focuses on civil court, Silvis works as a part-time solicitor for the county, handling cases for the Children's Bureau and the Area Agency on Aging. He previously served as an assistant public defender.

Lawyers who participated in a Westmoreland County Bar Association survey earlier this year rated Silvis as the top judicial candidate. He was rated highly recommended by 57 percent of the more than 200 attorneys who participated, and 26 percent of the respondents recommended him for the judicial vacancy.

Silvis finished first among three candidates in the GOP primary in May, including Monzo. He ran unsuccessfully for one of two vacancies on the county court in 2015.

Monzo, 52, of Hempfield, made her first attempt to win a seat as a county judge. She finished first in the Democratic primary in May.

Monzo is a partner along with her father and husband at Galloway & Monzo in Greensburg.

She received highly recommended grades from 32 percent of the lawyers in the bar association survey, while 28 percent rated her as recommended.

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

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