Judge Kagarise loses bid for state Superior Court

Blair County Judge Wade Kagarise lost his bid Tuesday for a state Superior Court seat, ending a yearlong pursuit for the position.

Kagarise was successful in winning the Republican nomination in the primary, which put him on the ballot as one of nine candidates seeking four seats on the high court. But unofficial results show him placing seventh, with 99.2 percent of the votes counted.

Unofficial results show the winning candidates as Philadelphia judges Carolyn Nichols and Maria McLaughlin and Beaver County Judge Deborah Kunselman, all Democrats. Only one Republican, Mary Murray, was among the winners.

Kagarise, who is completing his fourth year as a Blair County Common Pleas Court judge, will remain a county judge, a position that carries a 10-year term.

“I don’t have any regrets about running,” Kagarise said Tuesday at the Bavarian Hall, where he monitored election results with fellow Republicans. “I have to express my gratitude to the people in the (Republican) party and my community. I couldn’t have asked for any better support, and I felt blessed to have had it.”

Blair County voters provided 13,114 votes for Kagarise, more than any of his competitors, unofficial results show. Results do not include absentee or write-in votes.

Kagarise said he campaigned for the post by visiting almost 50 counties, some of them many times during the past year.

“It was grueling at times because I kept a full caseload and maintained my work schedule,” he said. “Then I’d jump in my car and hit the road over the weekends.”

Blair County has had only one other candidate seek a Superior Court seat.

Hollidaysburg native Thomas J. Baldridge ran for the post in 1928 and took office on Jan. 28, 1929. Baldridge served 20 years on the appellate court.

In deciding to run for office, Kagarase said he felt it was important for rural Pennsylvania to have a voice on the appellate courts typically filled by judges or attorneys from Philadelphia, Allegheny and Dauphin counties.

Kagarise said he hoped that his bid for the seat helped garner some recognition for Blair County.

“And maybe it will help someone else out there blaze a trail,” he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.