Jesse Pettit will become Washington County’s newest Court of Common Pleas judge after winning both the Democratic and Republican nominations during Tuesday’s primary.
Pettit, who is a magistrate in the district based in Peters Township, easily beat Joyce Hatfield-Wise in both primaries, meaning he’ll be the nominee for both major parties in the November general election, giving him an easy path to victory in the fall.
“Tonight is a humbling moment for my family,” Pettit said Tuesday night after his victory became clear. “I can’t begin to express my sincere gratitude to our volunteers and supporters.”
Pettit won the Republican nomination 68-32%, while beating Hatfield-Wise by a similar margin on the Democratic side with a 63-37% victory.
Pettit, 46, of Peters Township, has been a magistrate since 2018, representing a district that includes Peters, Nottingham and Union townships and Finleyville. Before that, he worked in private practice and also spent time in the state Attorney General’s office and as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia County.
He will replace Senior Judge Katherine Emery, who retired in January as president judge and has continued in a part-time role since that time. It was not known if he would be appointed to the position before the November election or continue his role as magistrate until then.
“Whether you voted for me or not, my pledge remains the same and that is to interpret the law in a fair and impartial manner and to treat everyone who steps in the courtroom with dignity and respect,” Pettit said in a written statement.
Hatfield-Wise, 56, of Amwell Township, ran for the county judicial position in 2017 and 2019, and also lost both times in the primary.
In the only other competitive countywide race Tuesday night, Ben Bright won the Democratic nomination for county controller 58-42% over Randy Barli, while April Sloane won the Republican nomination for that office by a 62-38% margin over H. Carl Brandtonies. Bright and Sloane will now compete in November for the position.