Primary 2019: Eight Judicial Nominees Picked for November

Democrats and Republicans have selected their respective nominees for four open seats on the county Court of Common Pleas. Despite nearly all candidates cross-filing and appearing on both sides of the ballot, none of the candidates were nominated for a position by their opposing party, according to unofficial election results available late Tuesday.

Turnout for the primary was slight in the county. With 98 percent of the machines reported last Tuesday night, it seemed about 17 percent of Delco's Democratic voters went to the polls and 20 percent of Republicans. 

Democrats nominated Nusrat Rashid of Chester Township, Stephanie Klein of Wallingford, Kelly Eckel of Upper Providence, and Rick Lowe of Middletown, all of whom were endorsed by their party. Unofficially Rashid received the most Democratic votes and the most of any candidate with 22,252. Klein received 21,586 and Eckel received 20,779. Lowe brought up the rear with 19,575 votes.

Republicans nominated Steven K. Gerber of Radnor, George Dawson of Ridley, Wendy B. Roberts of Bethel and Elizabeth Naughton Beck of Nether Providence, also the four endorsed candidates. Gerber received the highest vote total for Republicans with 20,581, followed by Dawson, who received 20,477. Roberts tallied 19,046 and Beck received 18,146.

Unendorsed Republican candidates Deborah C. Truscello, of Garnet Valley, and Jennifer C. Dipillo, of Edgmont, received 8,862 and 8,074 votes, respectively. Democrat Mike Farrell, of Springfield, was the only candidate not to cross-file. He received 7,404 votes.

Rashid holds a juris doctorate from Temple University School of Law. She has practiced law for 20 years and has owned a private practice in Chester since 2010, where she focuses on criminal defense and family law.

She said her experience representing underserved communities has granted her a unique and valuable insight into the challenges faced by many county residents that she hopes to bring to the bench. If elected in November, she would be the first African American woman on the county Court of Common Pleas.

Eckel, a cum laude graduate of Temple University School of Law, ran for the bench in 2017 and narrowly lost to former District Attorney Jack Whelan. She has been practicing for 22 years and currently works as a commercial litigator at Duane Morris LLP.

Eckel was appointed to the American Arbitration Association’s Panel of Neutral Arbitrators in 2010, where she presides over pre-trial and evidentiary hearings, resolves discovery disputes, reviews written submissions, makes factual and legal findings, and issues rulings and awards.

Klein, who received a law degree from the Washington College of Law, American University in Washington, D.C., served as Magisterial District Judge in 32-1-28 covering Media, Nether Providence and Swarthmore from 1995 to 2013, winning three elections.

Since 2014, Klein has mediated numerous discrimination cases for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and recently testified in front of the House Democratic Policy Committee on mediating sexual harassment cases.

Lowe is a former Swarthmore mayor, the first Democrat to be elected to that position, and holds a J.D. from New York University. He has been practicing for 36 years as a civil attorney specializing in construction matters, including about 10 years as an arbitrator, mediator and a judge pro tem.

Lowe said his experience as an attorney, as a mayor working with police, as an advocate for victim’s rights and his work teaching a course in American history to prisoners at SCI Graterford has given him a well-rounded perspective on numerous legal issues.

Gerber received his law degree from William and Mary Law School and has practiced at Cozen O'Connor since 1992 with a focus on litigating property damage matters. He previously served on the Radnor Township School Board, where he was president for a term, and is currently a Delaware County Representative to the SEPTA Citizens Advisory Committee. Gerber also serves as an arbitrator in Delaware County.

Gerber has long served his community in a variety of roles, but said his status as a cancer survivor has given him a new perspective on life and he now wants to marry his avocation of public service with his vocation as a lawyer.

Dawson, a Deputy District Attorney since 2013 overseeing the Anti-Violence and Insurance Fraud Units, graduated cum laude from what is now WMU-Cooley Law School in Michigan (formerly Thomas M. Cooley).

Dawson said he has two decades of legal experience and a vast amount of experience with the Delaware County court system in particular. He has practiced as both a prosecutor and defense counsel, and serves as a director on the Ridley School Board.

Beck has been a trial lawyer for 27 years and is a partner with Swartz Campbell in the Media regional office. She earned her J.D. from Widener University School of Law and serves as chair of the Delaware County Drug & Alcohol Advisory Council. She is also a former chair and member of the Delaware County Women’s Commission.

Beck said being a judge would be a lifelong dream come true and would be a culmination of a career in the courtroom and significant community involvement over the years. She added that a colleague believes she will be a good judge because she will allow lawyers to plead their cases instead of trying to control an outcome.

Roberts has served as the Magisterial District Judge in 32-2-49 covering Bethel, Chadds Ford, Concord, and Thornbury for the past five years. She earned her J.D. from Widener Law School and spent more than 23 years as a defense attorney practicing all over the region.

Roberts said she has brought a very common sense approach to her courtroom in maintaining an overarching rule that everyone leaves feeling like they were treated with respect and dignity, and had ample opportunity to be heard on their issues.

The term for a judge in the Court of Common Pleas is 10 years with an annual salary of $183,184, as set by the state.

Delco GOP