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2014 Illinois Judicial Elections
Last Updated: 2:30pm CDT - July 14, 2014

Ballot Set For 2014 Illinois Judicial Elections; Many Races Give Voters No Choice

A major question was answered Monday when the Illinois judicial retention list for 2014 was finalized with Justice Lloyd Karmeier’s name on top. Justice Karmeier, the only Supreme Court Justice potentially on the ballot in 2014, will run for retention, seeking a second 10-year term on Illinois’ highest court.

Additionally, it appears that by the end of the year, the Fifth District Appellate Court will see a new face, with longtime assigned appellate judge Stephen Spomer passing on filing for retention. That seat will be filled by appointment and will appear on the 2016 cycle ballot in the First Circuit, and the appellate seat will be filled by a sitting circuit judge from within the Fifth District.

Four other assigned circuit judges on the appellate court levels and five elected appellate judges will all be seeking retention in 2014. The most notable of these retention candidates include Justices William Holdridge and Mary K. O’Brien from the third district and Justice Robert Steigman from the fourth district.

Additionally, all five general election races for open appellate seats feature candidates who are unopposed, including appointed Justice Lisa Holder White in the Fourth District and currently-assigned Appellate Justice Michael Burke, who is also seeking election to the Appellate level. They join Cook County appellate candidates Shelly Harris, David Ellis and John Simon.

Of the 26 Cook County circuit races on the November ballot (countywide and subcircuit), only one race is contested: the 12th Subcircuit race between Republican James Pieczonka and Democrat James Kaplan. The other 25 races are unopposed, giving Cook County general election voters little choice as to who will oversee justice in their court system. This is not an unusual situation. And, in the one contested race, only 7 percent of Cook County voters live within the subcircuit.

Cook County voters will be inundated with names on their retention ballot. 72 countywide and subcircuit judicial names will appear to voters in Cook County. Three judges appear to have chosen not to seek retention (Judges Elrod, Hayes and Stuart).

Adding to lack of choice on the Illinois judicial ballot, only 11 of 30 downstate judicial races feature more than one candidate in November, and those contested races are limited in their geographic scope. Three of the races are in smaller subcircuits within Will County. Seven races are resident judgeships, meaning they are each limited to a single county. The final race features Republican Martin Siemer and Democrat Ericka Sanders in the nine-county Fourth Circuit.

Therefore, voters in 17 of 102 Illinois counties will each get choice in ONE judicial race this November. Voters in the 85 other counties in Illinois will get NO choices for judge, except the 7 percent of Cook County voters within the 12th Subcircuit. The most notable contested county judgeship races include former Madison County Asbestos Docket Judge Clarence Harrison versus Republican candidate John Barberis. Additionally, Democrat Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf will face Republican Circuit (and former Fifth District Appellate) Judge Stephen McGlynn in St. Clair County. Downstate voters will see 80 circuit judges seeking retention, among the 22 downstate Circuits.

The emerging trend for 2014 is little choice for the November general election voters, which is a dismal fact considering the March primary election had the lowest turnout (18%) of any Illinois primary in the past 50 years.

Complete and updated information on Illinois’ 2014 judicial elections, including judicial district maps, can be found at IllinoisJudges.net, the ICJL’s judicial election website.

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Find candidates running in the November 2014 general election:

Here's a complete list of judicial races in Illinois for the general election on November 4, 2014:

Appellate Court:
1st District - Gordon vacancy
1st District - Murphy vacancy
1st District - Steele vacancy
2nd District - Bowman vacancy
4th District - McCullough vacancy

Downstate Circuits: (denotes Circuitwide or resident county position)
2nd - Sawyer vacancy (Wabash)
2nd - Harrison vacancy (Wayne)
3rd - Callis vacancy (Madison)
4th - Tungate vacancy (Circuitwide)
4th - Middendorff vacancy (Clinton)
4th - Long vacancy (Montgomery)
5th - Clary vacancy (Vermilion)
6th - Carroll vacancy (Douglas)
6th - McCarthy vacancy (Macon)
6th - Shonkwiler vacancy (Piatt)
7th - Zappa vacancy (Circuitwide)
7th - Mitchell vacancy (Morgan)
8th - Greenlief vacancy (Calhoun)
8th - Pope vacancy (Menard)
9th - Danner vacancy (Fulton)
10th - Shore vacancy (Putnam)
10th - Borden vacancy (Stark)
11th - Pacey vacancy (Ford)
12th - Livas vacancy (1st Subcircuit)
12th - Additional Judgeship (1st Subcircuit)
12th - Additional Judgeship (2nd Subcircuit)
14th - Hamer vacancy (Henry)
14th - Stengel vacancy (Rock Island)
15th - Mallon vacancy (Ogle)
16th - Simpson vacancy (3rd Subcircuit)
16th - Additional Judgeship (3rd Subcircuit)
18th - Webster vacancy (Circuitwide)
19th - Additional Judgeship (1st Subcircuit)
20th - Cook vacancy (St. Clair)
22nd - Condon vacancy (2nd Subcircuit)

Cook County Circuitwides:
Cook County - Arnold vacancy
Cook County - Burke vacancy
Cook County - Connors vacancy
Cook County - Egan vacancy
Cook County - Felton vacancy
Cook County - Howse vacancy
Cook County - Lowrance vacancy
Cook County - McDonald vacancy
Cook County - Neville vacancy
Cook County - Reyes vacancy
Cook County - Veal vacancy

Cook County Subcircuits:
2nd - O'Neal vacancy
3rd - Donnelly vacancy
4th - Billik vacancy
4th - Mulhern vacancy
7th - Hardy-Campbell vacancy
7th - Taylor vacancy
9th - Goldberg vacancy
9th - Meyer vacancy
9th - Preston vacancy
10th - Additional Judgeship
11th - Additional Judgeship
12th - Jordan vacancy
13th - Iosco vacancy
15th - Doody vacancy
15th - Sterba vacancy

Judicial Retention Contests:

Per the Constitution, Illinois judges have until the first Monday in May to determine if they are running for retention on the November 2014 ballot.  Some will decide prior to the primary election deadline to retire and place the vacancy on the 2014 primary ballot.  Many will wait until after that deadline, in which the court will choose a replacement from December 2014 until the 2016 general election.

Currently, IllinoisJudges.net estimates that 167 Illinois judges are up for judicial retention in 2014, including one Supreme Court Justice, four Cook County Appellate Justices (three of which are appointed Circuit judges), seven downstate Appellate Justices (two of which are appointed Circuit judges), 24 Cook County Judges, 50 Cook County Subcircuit Judges, and 81 downstate Circuit Court Judges.

More information will be forthcoming in early-May 2014 on judicial retention races.

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Information Sources:

Illinois State Bar Association

Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

Illinois Association of Defense Counsel

Highly Recommended Website by ICJL:
Jack Lehane's Blog:
"For What It's Worth"

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