When it comes to the city's judicial races, one political question has been foremost over the last decade: Has the political organization run by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the Democratic Party chairman, lost its ability to secure judgeships for its endorsed candidates?
Here's the answer: No, as long as those endorsed candidates also have a prime spot on the ballot.
Or, based on Tuesday's results, maybe the answer is the opposite: Yes, unless those candidates also have a prime spot on the ballot.
In the end, seven of the Democratic City Committee's 10 endorsed candidates won nominations out of a field that totaled 38.
"I think we put that to sleep, didn't we?" Brady said. "We did extremely well. A couple of ballot positions hurt us. It always does. It becomes a lottery."
Lynn Marks, who keeps a close eye on judicial races as executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, agreed with Brady's assessment of the race as a lottery.
"We have a system that is so random in the ways that someone wins," she said Tuesday. "It is not a system that is designed to get at the best qualities for a judge."
Voters (the few who bothered) went to the polls to select candidates for 10 openings on the Common Pleas Court bench and for one Municipal Court slot.
The top Common Pleas Court candidate on the Democratic side of the ticket was Sean Kennedy, who was endorsed by the Democratic City Committee.
He also landed the first ballot spot.
Of the top 10 vote-getters, seven commanded spots at or near the top of the ballot.
Of those seven, four - Kennedy, Jonathan Q. Irvine, Angelo J. Foglietta, and Maria McLaughlin - were endorsed by the Democratic committee. Three were not. They are Diana Anhalt, Vincent L. Johnson, and Barbara M. McDermott.
But for the rest of the aspiring judges buried in the weeds on the ballot, the committee endorsement seemed to help. All three of the remaining Democratic winners had been endorsed by the City Committee. They are Carolyn H. Nichols, Edward C. Wright, and Charles Ehrlich.
But City Committee endorsements didn't help Roger F. Gordon Jr., Michael Fanning, or J. Scott O'Keefe.
Ehrlich and McLaughlin, both former city prosecutors, are most likely to become Common Pleas Court judges - they ran on the Republican ticket as well. Of the eight Republicans who ran, seven also ran as Democrats.
Out of eight Democratic candidates for Municipal Court judge, Marvin Williams, the City Committee-backed candidate, won, but an opponent, Martin S. Coleman, put up a reasonable fight.
The Republicans didn't run a Municipal Court candidate.