Vulnerable Venerable

The Madison County Record Oct. 1, 2006, 9:58am

Wyvetter Younge

Jim Hackett

Barb Crowder

Democrat strategists had hoped the grand dame of the Illinois House, Rep. Wyvetter Younge of East St. Louis, would never have to set foot on the campaign trail. A safe district, after all, is the just reward for racking up 32 years in a blood sport.

But having swatted off pesky challenges during the last two general elections, this time around may be tougher for one of the most senior members of the House and revered members of the Black Caucus. Sources tell Dicta Younge's Republican opponent, retired and well-known banker Dennis Bielke of Belleville, is within a 5-7 point striking distance.

Younge was first elected in 1974, the same year as former House Republican Leader Lee Daniels (R-Elmhurst). In the Chamber, they are junior only to the mighty House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who with 36 years under his belt, must have a high level of job satisfaction.

Be careful what you wish for...

In the accidental race for St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge, incumbent Lloyd Cueto may wish he had never made it one.

Cueto stepped down, officially, so as to run as a mere mortal, not for "retention," as most sitting judges. The difference was simple, his way he merely needed 51% of the votes to prevail, while the retention way required 60%.

Then, of course, was that issue of attracting an opponent.

Republican O'Fallon attorney Paul Evans has been tireless. Now the polls show it is paying off.

Dicta has learned that a local Democrat poll has Evans leading by five percentage points. And another GOP poll has him in the lead, if by just a few.

Its a Crowd

A recent independent poll shows Madison County Associate Judges James Hackett, a Republican, and Barbara Crowder, a Democrat, in a virtual dead heat.

The two are vying for the seat left vacant by former Circuit Judge George Moran, Jr., who beat feet out of Madison County under pressure in February.

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