Judges seeking retention running individual campaigns

Ann Maher May 24, 2012, 9:45am





Third Circuit judges seeking retention in November are running individual campaigns, unlike a team approach that was in place six years ago.

Chief Judge Ann Callis, who in 2006 personally contributed more than $260,000 to support her and fellow Judges John Knight and Charles Romani through, "Committee to Keep Madison and Bond Counties Safe," has this year established "Citizens for Callis" with a modest $10,000 personal contribution.

Expenditures for the Callis committee include $3,500 for the St. Louis public relations firm Price-Miner Creative Services. Another $5,622.50 expenditure was made for The Feldman Group, a strategic political research group from Washington, D.C.

Circuit Judge Dave Hylla, who has lent his campaign committee "Citizens for Dave Hylla" $7,500, also has made a $5,622.50 expenditure to The Feldman Group. He received a $3,300 contribution from Leonard Hylla of Granite City.

Hylla was first elected in 2006 with significant financial support from the area's trial bar, having raised more than $430,000 in 2006.

Circuit John Knight, who presides in Bond County, has lent his campaign committee "Citizens for Knight" $10,000. No expenditures are listed for Knight's committee on the Illinois State Board of Elections Web site.

Romani is not seeking retention. He will retire when his term expires in December.

Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder has raised approximately $29,000 for her committee, "Friends of Barbara Crowder," much of which was generated from a March fund-raiser.

Crowder is the only judge seeking retention who has so far in this election cycle accepted contributions from area attorneys.

In December, Crowder was removed from her position as presiding asbestos judge after she had accepted $30,000 from Madison County's largest asbestos firms days after she made a favorable ruling for the firms.

She returned the contributions and denies any connection between her ruling and the donations.

Crowder has received 48 itemized individual contributions totaling $19,950. She received $7,970 in non-itemized contributions. Her husband and former campaign manager Lawrence Taliana has loaned the committee $750.

The committee also received $700 in non-itemized transfers.

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