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Pennsylvania

High court candidates shatter campaign contribution record

| Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, 9:36 p.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Political contributions to candidates competing for an unprecedented three open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court surpassed the $10 million mark, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.

The fundraising total far exceeds that of any previous election for the high court; candidates in 2007 raised about $7 million.

Contributions through mid-September, including six candidates eliminated in the May primary, totaled $8.2 million. The latest reports pushed the figure to about $10.5 million.

Democrats continued to out-raise Republicans.

Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty, a Democrat whose support from organized labor has enabled him to lead the field in fundraising, reported $1.3 million in contributions. Overall, he has raised $3.6 million and spent $2.9 million since the beginning of the year.

No information of Dougherty's individual contributors or expenditures was available.

Fellow Democrat David Wecht, a state Superior Court judge from Pittsburgh, reported about $780,000 in contributions in the most recent period. They included $450,000 from the Committee for a Better Tomorrow, a political action committee operated by the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, and $100,000-plus from the Teamsters union's political committee and several of its locals. Overall, he has raised $2.9 million and spent $2.1 million.

Democrat Christine Donohue, a Superior Court judge from Pittsburgh, reported contributions of more than $838,455, which pushed her total to $1.8 million. She had nearly $495,000 on hand.

Among the Republicans, Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey reported nearly $250,000 in contributions, pushing her total to nearly $744,000. She had about $359,000 on hand as of Monday.

Judy Olson, a Superior Court judge from Pittsburgh, reported contributions of nearly $178,000 for a total of $447,000 and had about $258,000 on hand.

Adams County Judge Mike George took in less than $90,000 in contributions and had about $185,000 on hand.

Paul Panepinto, a Philadelphia judge and former Republican who is running as an independent, reported $22,500 in contributions and a balance of $154,000.

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