Harrison only candidate so far to raise funds; Plaintiffs' bar is responsive to campaign

By Ann Maher | Apr 10, 2014

Only one judicial candidate running for local office has so far received campaign contributions for November’s general election.

Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison has raised $58,871 through 111 individual contributions since last October, according to reports from the Illinois State Board of Elections. The figure does not include a $20,000 loan Harrison made to his campaign, $5,100 in fund transfers from political groups and $8,700 in non-itemized contributions.

The bulk of Harrison’s contributions came last year - $46,271 - of which 68 percent came from the plaintiffs’ bar, not unusual for candidates running on the Democratic ticket.

Harrison raised $12,600 in the first quarter of 2014. Of those contributions, 94 percent came from the plaintiffs’ bar.

In the first quarter of this year, asbestos firm Gori and Julian of Edwardsville contributed $5,000 and six lawyers from the Maune Raichle asbestos firm in St. Louis contributed a total of $2,700.

Harrison had presided over the asbestos docket for nearly two years until last October when he was reassigned to Family court.

He joined the judiciary as an associate judge in 1999 and has since been appointed by his colleagues to three, four-year terms. Prior to joining the bench, he practiced law in Granite City.

In November, Harrison faces St. Jacob attorney John Barberis who is running on the Republican ticket. The candidates are vying for the open seat left vacant by former judge Ann Callis who resigned to run for Congress.

Barberis has not yet established a fund raising committee with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Both Harrison and Barberis were rated in an Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) poll of lawyers released earlier this year.

Not surprisingly, results from this year’s poll are consistent with past polls in that Democratic candidates are preferred by the lawyers who voted.

Harrison was “recommended,” having received a 93.16 rating in the category of “meets requirements of office.”

Barberis was “not recommended” in the poll, having received a 23.60 rating in “meets requirements of office” category.

The poll is conducted by the ISBA, which mails ballots to ISBA members in the circuit or district from which a candidate seeks election.

In St. Clair County, Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf, Democrat, will face Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn, Republican, in the November election.

Rudolf and McGlynn have established campaign committees with the Board of Elections, but have raised very little from outside sources.

McGlynn collected a $250 contribution last November from Granite City municipal attorney Brian Konzen. McGlynn also has loaned his committee $25,000.

Rudolf loaned his committee $30,000 in January.

The two are vying for the seat left vacant by Michael Cook – the drug-addicted jurist who was sentenced last month to two years in prison on heroin possession and weapons charges.

After Cook stepped down last May, McGlynn was appointed to his seat by the Illinois Supreme Court.

In the ISBA poll, McGlynn received a 75.49 rating in the “meets requirements of office,” while Rudolf received a rating of 95.85.

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