Trans candidate edged out for judgeship

Trans candidate edged out for judgeship

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First-time candidate Henry Sias came within 5,000 votes of becoming the nation’s first transgender male judge Tuesday.

Sias placed 14th out of a pool of 31 candidates vying for the nine seats on the Court of Common Pleas. Sias, 40, is believed to be the first out transgender candidate to ever seek elected office in Philadelphia.

Sias did not respond to a request for comment by presstime. In a previous interview with PGN, he noted the value of the visibility trans candidates can bring for the community.

“[To] say to the city, ‘Hey, consider me on equal terms as all the other people asking for your vote. It’s not disqualifying that I’m trans. I’m a real person, a trans person, a member of the community who has contributions to make just like all trans people in the community. Consider me equally.’”

Sias received 30,959 votes, about 4,300 less than the ninth-placing candidate, capturing about 3.81 percent of the vote. First-place finisher Stella Tsai, who drew the top ballot position, received 7.72 percent of the vote.

Former state Rep. Mark Cohen, a longtime LGBT ally in the legislature, also secured a spot in the top nine.

Other winners from Tuesday include Larry Krasner for district attorney, who finished with a healthy lead over the other six candidates, capturing nearly 40 percent of the vote. Joe Kahn finished second, followed by Rich Negrin.

“Your passion and thirst for equal justice got us here today,” Krasner wrote on social media Tuesday night. “Thank you, Philadelphia. It’s time to get to work.”

In a congratulatory statement to Krasner and Republican nominee Beth Grossman, Mayor Jim Kenney said, “The people of Philadelphia made clear they want a District Attorney who will implement progressive reform, while also keeping our city safe.”

In an upset, Rebecca Rhynhart unseated incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz, receiving nearly 60 percent of the vote. Kenney noted that he saw “firsthand that Rebecca is capable of making government more efficient and effective.” Rhynhart served as chief administrative officer in Kenney’s administration and as city treasurer and budget director in former Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration.

At the statewide level, Debbie Kunselman, Maria McLaughlin, Carolyn Nichols and Geoffrey Moulton won the Democratic nominations for Superior Court, while Democrats Ellen Ceisler and Irene McLaughlin Clark advance to the fall race for Commonwealth Court. 


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