Judicial Campaigns in Pennsylvania Fueled by Personal Loans

Election voter
Three candidates for a Pennsylvania court seat have raised nearly $240,000 for their individual campaign, some of which is from personal loan contributions.

The candidates, Harry Smail Jr., Meagan Bilik DeFazio and William McCabe are all campaigning for the court seat once filled by the retiring Judge John Driscoll. Each candidate cross-filed, so they are listed as both Republican and Democrat in the primary election which will be held on May 21.

Both Bilik DeFazio and Smail lost bids for a position four years ago. This is McCabe’s first attempt for this judicial position.

Personal loans contributed heavily to each campaign, totaling a combined $130,000 for all three candidates.

Smail, 47, contributed the most to his campaign with a $110,000 personal loan, according to campaign reports filed last week. An additional $9,575 was raised as well. From January 20 to May 6, Smail spent $66,460 of the campaign funds.

Smail received a $100 contribution from the Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck political action committee (PAC) Fund.  In addition, he received $500 contributions from Charles Arrotti, Paul Kraisinger and Charles Gallo.

The second candidate, the 38-year-old Bilik DeFazio, raised $53,490 including a $10,000 personal loan. From Jan. 20 to April 1, she spent $14,534 on her campaign. From April 2 to May 6 she spent $19,941.

Her contributions include $1,000 from Western Pennsylvania Laborers PAC and $500 from each of the following organizations: Friends of Mike Reese, Local 66 PAC Club and Dickie McCamey & Chilcote PAC.

The final candidate, McCabe, 57, has raised the most outside money out of the three candidates. He raised a total of $46,670, plus an additional $10,000 from his personal loan funds. Several smaller contributions include multiple PACs across the state including but not limited to, $1,000 from the Western Pennsylvania Laborers PAC and $300 from the People Interest in Truth PAC.

McCabe also received $1,000 in support from attorneys Margaret Tremba and Caroline Roberto, $1,250 from attorney Ned Nakles Jr., and $1,000 from businessman Daniel Wukich.