With approximately 30 percent of precincts reporting in the Fifth Judicial District's 37 counties, Judge James Wexstten shows a lead over opponent Judy Cates, 52% to 48%.
However, in Madison County, at 8:50 p.m. with 163 of 233 precincts reporting, Cates holds a lead, 12,111 votes to Wexstten's 11,234.
Wexstten, of Mount Vernon, was appointed in January 2007 by the Illinois Supreme Court, on the recommendation of Justice Lloyd Karmeier, to fill a vacancy left by Judge Terence Hopkins who died in October 2006. Before that Wexstten had served more than 18 years as a circuit judge in the Second Circuit.
Cates, of Belleville, is a personal injury lawyer and past president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
The winner of the primary is expected to win November's general election since there is no Republican challenger running for the seat.