Even though he faces no opposition in November's general election, candidate for Madison County circuit judge Bill Mudge said there are costs associated with being on the ballot.
To help offset those expenses, a $150 per ticket fund-raiser is being held in Edwardsville on July 29 to benefit "Citizens for a Fair Judiciary."
The committee, which according to the Illinois State Board of Elections Website was created June 24, supports Mudge's candidacy, as well as the retention of Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian who is seeking his sixth six-year term. Both are Democrats.
"Andy Matoesian and Bill Mudge have distinguished themselves during their respective careers as hard-working, independent and fair," the invitation reads. "In November, we have the opportunity to retain Andy Matoesian as Circuit Judge and elect Bill Mudge as Circuit Judge, to ensure that our court system remains a fair and accessible venue for everyone."
Madison County Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci serves as committee chairman; Debbie Ming-Mendoza is treasurer.
Mudge is currently serving his second term as Madison County state's attorney. He is running to fill the vacancy created by Circuit Judge Daniel Stack, who is retiring.
Mudge said that judicial candidates only have a "small window" of opportunity to raise funds -- one year before election and 90 days after election.
In addition to advertising, promotional material and mailing costs, candidates and elected officials are sometimes asked to contribute to other political organizations and charitable cuases, he said.
Matoesian, 72, was first elected in 1980.
Despite no apparent effort to derail his retention, Matoesian indicated he still needs to campaign.
"I need to get 60 percent," he said.
Judges seeking retention rarely fail to get the required 60 percent of the "Yes" vote needed to remain in office.
One exception occurred in 2004 as Fifth District Appellate Court Justice Gordon Maag, a Democrat, was not retained, having only garnered 55 percent of the vote. In the same election, he also lost a bid for the Illinois Supreme Court to Lloyd Karmeier, a Republican.
In 2006, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto, who could have sought a third term in a retention vote, instead vacated his position and filed to run for election.
Cueto, a Democrat, defeated Paul Evans, a Republican, in that election.
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