Silvis, Monzo win face-off for Westmoreland judge seat
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.