Democrat Group Dumps Six Figures into Pennsylvania Supreme Court Race: Abortion, Redistricting at Stake

A pro-life activist holds a model fetus during a demonstration in front of the U.S. Suprem
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The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is dumping six figures into the November Pennsylvania Supreme Court race — an election that could have considerable consequences for abortion, redistricting, and other major issues in the state.

The DLCC, which works to elect Democrats at the state level, told the Messenger it is dumping money into the race because it “believe[s] state supreme courts from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin are critically important to determining the future of our democracy.”

“The policies that have the biggest impact on our lives are increasingly being decided in the states,” said interim DLCC President Heather Williams in a statement. “…As we implement our long-term strategy to build Democratic power in the states, we’re investing accordingly.”

A seat on the state Supreme Court is in play this November, and pro-abortion Democrat and current Superior Court Judge Dan McCaffery is going up against moderate Republican and President Judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Carolyn Carluccio.

Democrats’ four to two control of the seven-seat Pennsylvania Supreme Court is not at stake this year. However, Democrats contend the election will help set the stage for upcoming races that could tip the balance of power because three Democrats on the court are up for retention in 2025. There is also currently one open seat, which became vacant after Chief Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, died last year.

“Given the court terms, there really are no offensive opportunities for Democrats before 2031,” Williams told the Messenger. “[But] when you look at the dynamics as you move through the next election, it becomes a little bit clearer why this one feels really critical to get another Democrat who will be on the bench through 2031.”

The announcement comes after Politico reported in August that Democrats were “preparing to pour millions of dollars” into framing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race around abortion.

At the time, the outlet reported that a pro-Democrat super PAC was moving to “make abortion the centerpiece of the campaign” and that abortion giant Planned Parenthood was already getting involved in the race. Planned Parenthood Votes has since announced a seven-figure television ad buy in the state, which includes an ad specifically pointed at Carluccio over abortion.

Democrats in the state are reportedly hoping Pennsylvania will be a repeat of this year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election, in which a pro-abortion liberal judge won after they made abortion central to the race. Democrats also view it as a bellwether in a key battleground state ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

“For Democrats, the outcome will offer clues about whether voters are still mobilized by abortion more than a year after Roe v. Wade was struck down — and if the party can keep outrunning President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings,” Politico reported. “For Republicans, it will demonstrate whether they can finally crack the code on how to navigate the post-Roe world.”

Both GOP and Democrat operatives told the outlet in August that they believe the race will likely be one of the most expensive Pennsylvania Supreme Court elections in the state’s history. J.J. Abbott, a Pennsylvania-based Democrat strategist with ties to pro-abortion groups, told the outlet the race could cost between $20 million to $25 million.

“There’s really significant repercussions nationally in terms of access to reproductive care if Pennsylvania were to limit it,” Abbott said.

GOP operatives and officials told the outlet they expected Democrats to make the election about abortion, although they argue abortion is not on the ballot this year because it is legal in the state, and Democrats currently control the governorship and the state House.

“There is not going to be any abortion bill coming out of Harrisburg anytime soon,” said Josh Novotney, a GOP consultant in Pennsylvania. “This is a diversionary tactic to not talk about the real issues, including schools and jobs.”


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