In this year's state Supreme Court primaries, they were considered the "safe" candidates. For starters, they were the only two candidates from the Pittsburgh area in a race crowded with southeastern Pennsylvania justice hopefuls.
Both can boast experience as a state appellate court judge, and both have won statewide elections in the past.
What's more, both are women, and judicial campaign watchers say that voters from both parties are eager to put more female faces on a bench that has seen only one elected woman in its lengthy history.
But Superior Court Judges Debra Todd and Maureen Lally-Green - a Democrat and Republican, respectively - didn't just win their parties' primaries by comfortable margins.
They also seem to have come out on top in the "Most Votes for Money Raised" category.
Recently released campaign finance reports indicate that Todd received slightly less than $145,000 over the course of May, pushing her 2007 total through the May 15 primary to somewhere around $338,000.
Lally-Green's most recent reports list her as not raising any money in May; she had raised a total of just more than $260,000 as of the end of April. (Those sums reflect the Pennsylvania Department of State's official records for Lally-Green's candidacy. However, her campaign treasurer has told The Associated Press that just less than $120,000 was donated to Lally-Green over the course of the May reporting period.)
According to Department of State data, Lally-Green won the Republican primary with 42.4 percent of the vote, while Todd was tops among the Democrats with 35.7 percent.
The men who trailed behind them raised far more money in comparison.
The latest round of finance reports again suggest that this year's Supreme Court race is on pace to be the most expensive in state history.
During this year's May reporting period, the top six candidates raised roughly $1.54 million in pursuit of two open high court seats. The six candidates for one open seat in 2003 raised less than $400,000 during that year's May reporting period.
Mike Krancer, the 2007 Republican primary runner-up who captured a spot on the November ballot alongside Lally-Green, has raised well over $1 million this year, with more than $681,000 coming in May. The Main Line-born former state Environmental Hearing Board chief judge - who is also a great-nephew of Walter Annenberg - captured 36.7 percent of the GOP vote in last month's primary.
Superior Court Judge Seamus P. McCaffery, the Democratic primary runner-up with 31.3 percent of the vote, reported raising roughly $730,000 as of the end of May. McCaffery raked in at least $200,000 in each of 2007's three campaign-finance reporting periods.
Even the primaries' bronze medal recipients - who didn't make the two-candidate cutoff for placement on the November ballot - appear to have raised more than Lally-Green and Todd.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Paul P. Panepinto, who captured 20.9 percent of the Republican vote last month, raised more than $562,000 as of the May reporting period.
Philadelphia Common Pleas President Judge C. Darnell Jones II, who wound up with 18 percent of the Democratic vote, had roughly $470,000 in the bank going into the primary.
"The eastern [Pennsylvania] candidates carved up the vote - divided it up a number of ways," said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College.
As for Todd and Lally-Green's victories, Madonna said, "You've got the regional voting going on, and you've got the gender consideration."
The recent reports show that Panepinto suffered the greatest loss in campaign finance momentum once May came along.
More than half of the roughly $286,000 raised by Panepinto's campaign in the early months of this year came from Texas-based contributors, most of them major plaintiffs-side players in the mass torts arena. For roughly a year until recently, Panepinto served as coordinating judge of the Philadelphia court system's nationally renowned mass torts program, the Complex Litigation Center.
The Panepinto campaign's $152,500 Longhorn haul as of late March included $50,000 from Houston-based firm Williams Bailey. A number of that firm's lawyers have served as plaintiffs counsel in cases assigned to the CLC's Fen-Phen mass torts program.
Panepinto's campaign took in another $50,000 from brokers at Austin-based The James Street Group, "independent advisers to plaintiff attorneys in structured settlements," according to the group's Web site.
Panepinto had stated in interviews earlier this year that he believed his CLC position had raised his national profile and that his campaign workers were focusing fundraising efforts on out-of-state contribution sources.
But in April, The Legal learned that city court system leadership planned to remove Panepinto from his CLC post as of the beginning of this month.
Panepinto's report covering the month of April - which showed more than $223,000 raised - reflected no Texas-originating contributions to the Panepinto campaign. Instead, the Panepinto campaign's largest recent donations consisted of a $95,000 loan from the judge himself and $60,000 in loans from his brother Ronald, a Center City jeweler.
The roughly $52,600 raised by Panepinto in May didn't include any personal or family loans, nor any money from contributors outside of the tri-state region. Most of the money came from Philadelphia-area attorneys and law firms.
On the other end of the spectrum, May was a boom month for Krancer's fundraising efforts.
Krancer had raised roughly $136,000 in the early months of 2007 and approximately $212,000 more in late March and April. The nearly $700,000 he raised in May marked his most successful reporting period.
However, at least $520,000 of Krancer's May money came in the form of personal and family contributions; he listed $420,000 as having been personally loaned to his campaign. And as of the end of April, Krancer's family had also donated some $260,000 to his high court bid.
Todd's campaign was also largely self-funded. She and husband Steve - an attorney who recently retired from his position as a vice president with U.S. Steel - loaned her campaign roughly $137,000.
The recent reports show that McCaffery and Jones also looked to traditional sources of campaign contributions as the primary neared.
In the first few months of this year, donations from unions accounted for nearly 60 percent of the roughly $236,000 gathered by McCaffery's campaign.
In late March/April, the $289,000 donated to McCaffery contained thousands from unions across the state, including $50,000 from both the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association and the political committee of Philadelphia-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98. The PSCOA also gave McCaffery, a former Philadelphia homicide detective, $50,000 in early February.
Local 98 gave McCaffery another $50,000 the week before the primary, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America's Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia also gave $50,000 on May 7. The carpenters' union had also given the McCaffery campaign $50,000 in February.
McCaffery raised more than $204,000 in the May reporting period.
Jones' campaign had looked to Philadelphia-area attorneys and law firms for the bulk of financial support for his bid, campaign finance records show.
In the first few months of the year, roughly 40 percent of his $169,000 war chest came from Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers. The firm is considered one of the region's top real estate and land-use firms, and William Harvey, its managing partner, headed up Jones' campaign finance committee.
By the second and third reporting periods, Jones' fundraising had diversified to include donations from a wider variety of Center City firms.
His campaign raised more than $108,000 in May, with major contributions including $10,000 from Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young and $15,000 from Pepper Hamilton. Pepper Hamilton and its attorneys also gave Jones $4,500 over the course of late March and April.
Pollster Madonna said that even the race's top fundraisers didn't gather enough money to create "real visibility" through television advertisements.
"My guess is, you'd probably need $3 million worth of TV ads to get your name recognition up to some acceptable level," Madonna said.
The high court candidates who did pay for TV ads this spring tended to go for cable airwaves and to shy away from the pricier Philadelphia market.
Madonna said he expects this year's general election Supreme Court candidates to seek the type of airwaves time commanded by "regular" political candidates.
Madonna also predicted that, in light of Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin Katz's decision last month striking down two key provisions of the state's ethical rules that limit the speech of judicial candidates, some of this year's state Supreme Court candidates will soon start taking stances on particular issues.
The ones who don't, Madonna said, could leave themselves vulnerable to attacks from critics and opponents alike.
"The rhetoric will be a lot different, because they can state positions," Madonna said.