More than 90 percent of lawyers who participated in an Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) poll in the Third Judicial Circuit believe that Madison County Associate Judge Kyle Napp meets the requirements of office.
Napp, a Democrat, is seeking election to the circuit seat currently held by Judge Charles Romani, who plans to retire when his term expires in December.
Napp is running unopposed in the primary election on March 20.
She was appointed associate judge in 2007 and presides in the court's felony division. Prior to serving as judge, she worked 14 years as an assistant Madison County state's attorney.
"I am pleased that the lawyers that practice before me are confident in my abilities as a judge and i think these numbers reflect that," Napp said in an email. "This poll is consistent with the poll taken in April of 2011, and I will continue to work hard and be the kind of judge the people deserve."
Republicans vying for the same seat did not fare as well in the ISBA poll.
Thomas Burkart of Hamel only received a rating of 46.39 on the question of whether he meets the requirements of office. In order to receive a "recommended" rating, candidates must receive at least a 65 percent rating.
Burkart rebuffed the results, saying the poll is inaccurate and "influenced by political affiliation."
"There are 190,000 registered voters in Madison and Bond county," he said in a statement. "From the feedback I am getting, the voters of Madison and Bond counties are sick and tired of allowing a very few lawyers pick who the next judge will be."
Burkart, who is experienced in civil and criminal litigation, has been the supervising attorney for Burkart Law since it opened in 1986. He also has served as a Madison County public defender.
The ISBA mailed ballots to 547 to member lawyers in the circuit and 203 lawyers responsed. Non-member, licensed lawyers within the circuit may also participate in the poll by requesting a ballot.
Mark Rabe of Edwardsville, a Republican who will face Burkart in the primary, had too few responses for a valid poll, according to the ISBA.
Rabe works as in-house counsel for Boeing in St. Louis.
On the other questions in the poll, here is how Napp and Burkart compared: