The recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court election marked a significant departure from traditional contests, witnessing unprecedented spending, heightened media attention, and record odd-year voter turnout. 

Democrat Dan McCaffery’s victory, framed as pivotal for basic rights, defied the past norm of subdued judicial campaigns. With a focus on issues like defending abortion rights and countering the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative stance, McCaffery broke from the conventional approach of avoiding policy discussions in judicial races. 

The race’s $22 million expenditure, a surge from the previous year, underscores the evolving landscape, as Democrats and allied groups adapt strategies to counterbalance Republican spending. 

The outcome suggests a potential long-term shift in the nature of Pennsylvania’s judicial elections, signaling a new era of high-stakes, partisan contests.