With most of the votes counted in the race for four open seats on the state Superior Court, it appeared that Republicans were aligned to win at least three of those.
Updates on the Superior Court race are available from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's election Web site.
Judy Olson, a Republican appointed to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in 2008, held a comfortable lead over eight other candidates. With 97 percent of the votes recorded, Judge Olson had collected 15 percent.
The next closest vote-getter was Sallie Mundy, an attorney from Tioga County, who had 13.6 percent of the vote.
"I'm going to be the face of rural Pennsylvania on our appellate court," Ms. Mundy said.
Chester County Common Pleas Judge Paula Ott was in third with 12.6 percent of the reported votes. In the race for the final seat, Democrat Anne E. Lazarus, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge, held a narrow lead over Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert J. Colville.
Judge Olson attributed the success on the Republican ticket last night to working as a group.
"The Republican ticket has worked extremely hard and has been crisscrossing the state for 10 months," she said. "I think all of that hard work is paying off."
Judge Ott attributed the success of the Republican party's judicial candidates to the work of the statewide committee.
"As I've traveled around the state, the committee people were working really hard," she said. "There was a great push to support the judicial candidates."
"It's just amazing considering my late entry into the race," said Judge Ott, 59, of West Chester, who has been on the Chester County court since 1992.
Judge Olson, 52, of Franklin Park, practiced law for 27 years before joining the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. She focused on complex commercial litigation. That experience, she said, should help her on the Superior Court.
"I must say I am very honored and humbled to have gotten so much support from the people of the beautiful commonwealth of Pennsylvania," she said.
There were nine candidates in the appellate court race, four Democrats, four Republicans, and one Libertarian.
The Superior Court, which serves as an appeals court for both civil and criminal law, had nearly 8,000 new cases filed in 2008. There are 15 seats on the Superior Court bench.
Paula Reed Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620.