The members of the Chester County Democratic Committee have voted to endorse candidates Judge Analisa Sondergaard and Judge Bret Binder for the two open seats on the Chester County Court of Common Pleas to be elected in November. The CCDC’s endorsement convention took place on the evening of March 19th at Stetson Middle School, where both candidates spoke before a standing-room only crowd.
Sondergaard and Binder’s judicial experience, previous campaign successes, and reputations in the legal community helped them stand out in an accomplished field of candidates. Both are sitting Magisterial District Judges who emphasized their commitment to treating everyone who appears in their courts with respect and empathy while applying their knowledge of the law. Despite a five-way ballot, both candidates were able to secure over the 65% percent of the votes required to receive an endorsement. When the results were announced, the room filled with cheers and congratulations for the two well-known and well-liked candidates.
Sondergaard lives in Tredyffrin Township and has served as the Magisterial District Judge for Tredyffrin and East Whiteland Townships for eight years. She started her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia and, as part of the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, she prosecuted defendants charged with physical and sexual assault of children and adults. Prior to taking the bench, she worked for ten years as a litigator in private practice. She currently mentors and trains associates at McDonnell & Associates in all aspects of litigation while contributing to the community, including donating her time each week to Meals on Wheels at Surrey Services for Seniors in Devon. She has earned a reputation for being knowledgeable and compassionate and pushing reforms such as eliminating incarceration for those who can’t afford to pay fines for traffic tickets, accepting community service hours as an alternative for those who are unable to pay court fines, and working with law enforcement to create programs for youthful first-time offenders.
Binder, an East Bradford resident, is the Magisterial District Judge serving parts of West Chester as well as the townships of East and West Bradford. He has distinguished himself on the bench by being appointed to the Rules Committee of the Special Court Judges Association. He has quickly earned a reputation for a deep passion for the law and treating all parties with respect. He spoke of his achievements in moving his court towards cashless bail, performing weddings for all, and also working to eliminate debtor’s prison. Binder is the founder and managing partner of the law firm Binder & Canno, LLC located in West Chester, co-author of Binder on Pennsylvania Evidence, 10th Edition (Pennsylvania Bar Institute), previously served as Director on the Board of the West Chester Area School District, and currently serves on the board of numerous local non-profit organizations including the Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center (CC-OIC), which focuses on adult literacy and job training.
Both candidates have pledged to continue to fight to improve the judicial system, including their desire to expand mental health and drug court to help people get treatment as part of the rehabilitation process, give all parties an opportunity to be heard fully and treated with respect, and apply the law with knowledge and compassion.
Tuesday, May 21 is Election Day for the primary. The last day for residents to register to vote for the primary is April 22. Absentee ballots are available from Chester County Voter Services and must be returned by May 17. The General Election is Tuesday, November 5.