With approximately 85 percent of precincts reporting in the Fifth Judicial District's 37 counties, Judge James Wexstten is leading opponent Judy Cates, 54% to 46%.
However, in Madison County, at 9:50 p.m. with 226 of 233 precincts reporting, Cates holds a lead, 17,958 votes to Wexstten's 16,785.
The two are competing for a seat on the Fifth Judicial District appellate court. A bulk of the votes within the district come out of Madison and St. Clair counties.
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