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Late surge puts McVay in battle for judgeship

- Common Pleas Judge Jack McVay of Shadyside, a candidate for Superior Court.
Common Pleas Judge Jack McVay of Shadyside, a candidate for Superior Court.
- Vic Stabile of Carlisle, the Republican nominee for state Superior Court judge.
Vic Stabile of Carlisle, the Republican nominee for state Superior Court judge.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 11:52 p.m.
 

Pennsylvania's only contested, statewide election this fall will pit an Allegheny County judge who spent the past six years deciding family court cases against a Harrisburg attorney with 30 years of civil litigation experience.

Common Pleas Judge Jack McVay Jr. of Shadyside won a quiet race for the Democratic nomination for an empty seat on Superior Court. A late tally of votes Tuesday showed he beat Philadelphia Municipal Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr., 55 percent to 45 percent.

“He waged a vigorous and positive campaign, and the people of Pennsylvania are better for it,” McVay, 56, said about Waters, who had the party endorsement.

Attorney Vic Stabile, 55, of Carlisle ran unopposed for the Republican nomination.

“I'm hoping that I can add to and improve the system of justice in Pennsylvania at the appellate level,” said Stabile, a partner at Dilworth Paxson in Harrisburg.

The 15-member Superior Court hears appeals of civil, criminal, family and orphans' court decisions.

The candidates stressed different experiences to show they're most qualified for the job.

McVay, a licensed pharmacist, worked in the county Housing Authority and city and county law departments before his election to the bench in 2007.

“I believe my judicial trial experience sets me apart,” he said. “The Superior Court reviews whether the trial court properly exercised its discretion. I have exercised that discretion countless times.”

Stabile, a township supervisor and Republican committeeman, started as an appellate clerk in Commonwealth Court and defended state agencies at the attorney general's office before joining Dilworth Paxson in 1987.

“I have represented individuals, I've represented various government entities and Fortune 500 corporations,” he said. “If you look at the areas in which the court has jurisdiction, I probably have the most experience in the greatest amount of areas.”

The state bar association rated both candidates as “recommended.”

The Superior Court seat became open when now-Senior Judge John Musmanno reached mandatory retirement age of 70. Judges face a retention vote every 10 years and this year are paid $188,337. Two Superior Court judges and two Supreme Court justices will be up for retention votes in November.

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

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