Karmeier appointees Overstreet and Moore win election to full terms

Ann Knef Nov. 4, 2008, 5:40pm

Southern Illinois circuit judges David Overstreet and Randy Moore have won election to full terms.

Overstreet and Moore, Republicans, had been tapped by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier to fill vacancies in the First and Second Judicial Circuits and were running for election to their seats for the first time.

In the Second Judicial Circuit, Overstreet defeated challenger L. James Hanson, a Democrat, by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

Overstreet, who received 42,401 votes, and Hanson, 34,633 votes, who received were vying for a circuit court seat in Mt. Vernon vacated by James Wexstten.

Wexstten, a Democrat, was appointed to the appellate court in October 2006 to fill the vacancy left upon the death of Justice Terrence Hopkins.

In February, Wexstten fended off a primary challenge from personal injury attorney Judy Cates of Swansea. He was unopposed in the general election.

In the First Judicial Circuit, Moore defeated challenger Steve Stone, a Democrat by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent. The two vied for the position vacated by Bruce Stewart.

Moore received 45,535 votes. Stone received 44,788 votes.

Stewart was elected to the appellate court in 2006.

Overstreet and Moore's victories were achieved despite the efforts of a political action committee formed to support their opponents.

Southern Illinois Citizens for Equal Justice -- with backing from Cates -- was organized late in the campaign. Personal injury attorney Mark Prince of Carbondale served as chairman, and personal injury attorney James Williams of Belleville as treasurer.

Cates had sought campaign contributions for the PAC. She told potential donors, "...[T]here will come a time in southern Illinois when the Supreme Court position will once again be an issue. We need strong Democrats in the judiciary in every county when that time comes."

In 2004, Karmeier, a Republican from Washington County, defeated Gordon Maag of Madison County, in what was the most expensive state supreme court contest ever waged in the country. Karmeier was elected to a 10-year term.

Karmeier's support came largely from business and medical interests; Maag's largely from the trial bar.

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