Erie County Chief Deputy District Attorney Erin Connelly will head from the DA's office to the bench.

She won one of two open seats for judge on the Erie County Court of Common Pleas.

The 42-year-old attorney and her supporters watched the returns come in Tuesday night at Otis 12 in Millcreek.

It was an upbeat party as the candidate watched her lead over opponent Ed Smith grow throughout the evening. 

She declared victory in a facebook live interview with Erie News Now shortly after 10:00 p.m.  Then Smith called her to concede and congratulate her on the win.  "It feels great, it's surreal right now, I'm still processing everything that's happened," Connelly said.

This was Erin Connelly's second run for judge.  Her campaign centered around her 17 years as a prosecutor and all of her courtroom experience.

Connelly told us she is thrilled with the win and ready to be a judge, even if the cases take her into different areas of the law.  "I really do feel like I'm ready to hit the ground running, I know the procedure, the rules, I'm going to have to learn some new laws and how to apply them, but I do that in the criminal realm every day, the law's always changing and evolving."

She said she is proud to follow her father, Senior Judge Shad Connelly on to the Erie County bench. "It's so exciting for me, I just am really proud that I can do this," Erin said, adding, "I'm proud that Erie County's given me this opportunity and I'm really looking forward to serving them and just--my father's always been an inspiration to me, so to be able to follow in his footsteps and do what he has done for so long, is just truly the greatest reward."

 Judge Shad Connelly was among the family, friends and campaign workers joining in the judge-elect's victory celebration.  Getting a little emotional the senior judge said, "I couldn't be prouder of Erin and she will be a wonderful judge, better than I ever was."