Paul Evans, candidate for circuit judge in the 20th Judicial Circuit, has filed petitions to appear on the March 21 primary ballot with more than 1,400 signatures.
"I am very pleased at the amount of support shown to me," Evans said on his return trip from the State Board of Elections in Springfield after turning in stacks of election petitions on Tuesday. He was required to submit at least 500 signatures of registered voters in St. Clair County. He ended up with 1,403.
Evans, an O'Fallon general practice attorney, will face St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto in the Nov. 7 general election. Rather than run for retention which would require a 60 percent affirmative vote, Cueto unexpectedly decided to run for election to the seat he holds.
Cueto's brother and campaign manager, Belleville attorney Christopher Cueto, said the judge's peitions were filed on Jan. 3.
Evans said he was overwhelmed by a steady stream of people who dropped off petitions at his office on Monday.
"People came throughout the day dropping off petitions all validly executed," he said.
"My experience in the last few days has reinforced my decision to run for circuit judge. Now is the time for a Republican to seek election."
Evans said he would be forming an organization in the coming days, then start the process of meeting with community leaders and forming grassroots support.
The reception he's received from within the legal community has been "cool," Evans said. Telephone calls and emails have suggested that he may be over his head matching up against the name "Cueto."
"Some have said, 'Do I know what I am up against?'," Evans said.
Evans dismissed the remarks as representative of a "status quo" mentality.
"I believe voters have waited so long for a choice," he said. "Perhaps they (skeptics) have miscalculated."