Pennsylvania Supreme Court

A group of Dauphin County Democrats gathered in Harrisburg to watch election returns come in.
Katie Meyer / WITF

(Harrisburg) -- Tuesday night saw some big wins for Democrats around the country--but Pennsylvania's elections were mostly lower-profile, and ended with more of a political mixed bag.

Onlookers in the commonwealth say they're already ahead looking to 2018.

The commonwealth's top-of-the-ticket race was for a term on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, between Republican interim justice Sallie Mundy and Democratic family court judge Dwayne Woodruff, who's also a former Pittsburgh Steeler.

Mundy, who outstripped Woodruff in fundraising and endorsements, won the seat.

Telling Penn State students that their votes matter, Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd recounted how, several years ago, a statewide Democratic judge lost by 48 votes.

“I think that really lets you know how important every vote is," Todd said.

Todd was speaking to a roomful of college Democrats. The visit was just one of the stops she’s making before Pennsylvania’s Nov. 7 vote. She said elder justice, veterans courts and prevention of child abuse are three of the issues important to her.

Todd encouraged the students to stay involved.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidates at a table
Associated Press

Every time Pennsylvania voters are asked to make their picks in a race for the Supreme Court, they have to indulge in a polite fiction – one that party leaders and candidates both seem to dislike.

The candidates for justice have a party next to their names, but they must disavow party politics if they make it to the bench. Voters just have to pretend there’s no contradiction.

At a recent forum, three candidates for Supreme Court described how they navigate that process.