Ann Maher Jan. 16, 2016, 10:14am


Only one of seven circuit court candidates in Madison and St. Clair counties raised funds in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Madison County Circuit Court Judge William Mudge received $35,150 in individual campaign contributions, half of which were not itemized.

In itemized contributions, Mudge's campaign committee received $17,425 through 62 donations, none of which exceeded $500. Most of the donations came from lawyers or law firms on both sides of the trial bar.

Those who contributed $500 were Beatty and Motil of Glen Carbon; Becker, Hoerner, Thompson and Ysursa of Belleville; Chatham and Baricevic of Belleville; HeplerBroom of Edwardsville; Mormino, Velloff, Edmonds and Snider of Alton; Schoen, Walton, Telken and Foster of Edwardsville and Eddie Sholar (Fast Eddie's) of Alton.

Mudge also received $3,775 in transfers from labor groups and other campaign committees.

He is seeking retention to a second term as circuit judge. He served as Madison County State's Attorney for eight years prior to first being elected circuit judge in 2010.

To be retained, a judge must receive at least three fifths, or 60 percent, voter approval.

Mudge's colleague on the Madison County bench, Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian, also is seeking retention in the Third Judicial Circuit. He will be serving his 51st year on the bench this year, and is currently the longest serving judge in the state of Illinois.

Matoesian has not established a campaign committee so far this election cycle.

For voters in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, this election is far from ordinary - and it's not just because none of the five would-be contenders raised any money at all in the fourth quarter.

Three judges who might normally seek retention to secure successive terms, have taken the unusual approach of seeking election rather than retention to their seats.

Chief Judge John Baricevic and Circuit Judges Robert LeChien and Robert Haida submitted letters of resignation in August, indicating they would resign effective on the last day of their terms in December, but campaign for the vacancies they were creating.

As a twist, Baricevic is running for the Haida vacancy; Haida is running for the Baricevic vacancy and LeChien is running for his own vacancy.

Their election filing papers seeking Democratic party nominations have been challenged by Belleville Republican Dallas Cook, who currently serves as Belleville City Clerk and is a candidate for St. Clair County Circuit Clerk. Arguments in the case will be made at the State Board of Elections in Chicago on Wednesday.

In the meantime, two of the three sitting judges - Baricevic and LeChien - picked up partisan challengers.

Attorney Ronald Duebbert of Belleville filed papers seeking the Republican nomination to the Haida vacancy, in which he would be running against Baricevic in the November general election if Baricevic's name is allowed to remain on the ballot.

Former St. Clair County Associate Judge Laninya Cason, who formerly aligned with the Democratic Pary, is seeking the Republican nomination to the LeChien vacancy. She would face LeChien in November, if his name is allowed to remain on the ballot.

Neither Duebbert nor Cason have active campaign committees registered with the State Board of Elections.

Baricevic has $7,913.77 on hand in his campaign committee; Haida has $10,571.87 on hand and LeChien has $240.95, according to the State Board of Elections site.

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