Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier will swear into office Paul Evans as State Representative of the 102nd House District on Friday, Aug. 26.
Evans was chosen Saturday by Republican leaders in Madison, St. Clair, Clinton, Bond, Fayette, Shelby and Effingham counties to fill the unexpired term of retiring State Rep. Ron Stephens, a Republican from Greenville. Stephens, who announced in July that he would retire before his term expires in January 2013, has served as state representative since 1985, except for one term in which he did not win re-election in 1990.
Evans, who had run unsuccessfully against St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto in 2006, said he became a contender for the legislative seat in part because the timing was right.
"The kids are older and that frees up time," he said.
Evans competed against six others for Stephens' seat including Lebanon Mayor Scott Abner; Troy Alderman and Illinois Civil Justice League Vice President Al Adomite; O'Fallon attorney and former candidate for Clinton County circuit judge Doug Gruenke; Steve Klingbeil of Highland, who was Stephens' campaign manager; grocery store owner Mike Schuette of St. Rose; and former Madison County Circuit Judge and State's Attorney Don Weber.
Evans prepared for the interview with county GOP chairmen, but "not much," as he is familiar with the challenges of the office, he said.
"I am an informed citizen and voter," he said.
Evans recalled his bid for circuit judge saying he "stood the heat" of Democratic opposition.
Cueto, a Belleville Democrat who had served two consecutive six-year terms as circuit judge, opted not to run for retention in the November 2006 general election. Instead, he chose to run for election to the same position. To be retained, he would have needed a 60 percent "yes" vote, whereas in an open election the candidate only needs a simple majority.
Evans lost the race by a margin of 52% to 48%.
During that campaign, Evans said his home and office were being watched, he said.
"I went into it with everyone telling me it was career suicide," he said. "But I felt good taking a stand. I believe citizens are entitled to make decisions about who they elect as judges."
Evans and his wife, Sandy, have three children. Their oldest daughter, Lauren, who was born with spina bifida, will celebrate her 19th birthday on Evans' swearing-in day. She is a student at SIU-Edwardsville and living independently. They also have another daughter and son at home in O'Fallon.
Evans lives within the overlap area of the current 102nd State House District and the newly redrawn 108th House District where he will run for office in November 2012. State legislative maps are redrawn every 10 following U.S. Census reports.
In the remapping process, Stephens was drawn into the legislative district in which State Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem) serves. To retain his position in the Illinois General Assembly, Stephens would have had to run successfully against Cavaletto in the Republican primary, and then onto the general election.