Pamela Ruest gets to keep her gavel.
The Centre County president judge was running to retain her seat on the bench. She walked to a handy win.
Judges serve 10-year terms and don’t run for re-election. Instead, their names go back on the ballot in November, asking voters if the judges should keep their jobs or if there should be a new election starting in the spring primary.
Ruest did that. She appeared on Centre County ballots Tuesday alongside the three statewide judges doing the same thing.
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Ruest was running against herself in a yes-no vote. She picked up 79.62 percent approval, with 17,431 Centre County residents saying she should stay on in Courtroom 1, compared to 4,462 saying they’d like to try someone new.
If Ruest had been running against the statewide candidates, she’d have won, too. Her numbers topped all three, both in Centre County and across Pennsylvania. All of the retained judges, however, did better in Centre County than they did throughout the Keystone State, even if just by a hair.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Saylor will keep his seat until he retires in four years when he turns 75. Then Justice Debra Todd, who also kept her seat, is slated to become Pennsylvania’s first woman leading the state’s top court.
Saylor won with 68.68 percent yes votes in Centre County and 68.26 statewide. Todd got 73.93 percent yes on her retention bid in Centre County and 70.82 percent across Pennsylvania.
Jacqueline Shogan will remain on the state Superior Court. She picked up 69.42 percent support in Centre County and 69.31 percent overall.
Of 17 state and county judges up for election or retention on the ballot in Centre County, Ruest picked up the most votes, topping runner-up Todd by 2,469 votes and third place Maria McLaughlin — the top vote-getter statewide for one of four Superior Court seats — by 3,258 in the county.