The Simmons law firm of Alton and nine of its asbestos attorneys recently contributed $45,000 to Judy Cates, Democratic candidate for the Fifth District Appellate Court.

Attorneys John Simmons, Michael Angelides, John Barnerd, Perry Browder and Ted Gianaris each contributed $5,000 to Cates on Sept. 10. Attorneys Nicholas Angelides, Derek Brandt, Randy Cohn and Brian Cooke each contributed $2,500. The firm donated $10,000 on the same day.

On Sept. 5, personal injury attorneys John Brewster, Linda Brame, Paul Schafer and Thomas Crosby of the Winters, Brewster, Crosby & Schafer firm in Marion each contributed $1,000 to Cates.

The personal injury firm Howerton, Dorris & Stone of Marion contributed $5,000 to Catres on Sept. 5.

According to the latest figures from the Illinois State Board of Elections website, Cates has raised $54,000 since Labor Day.

Her Republican challenger, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn, has raised $11,000 since Labor Day.

On Sept. 6, McGlynn received a $10,000 contribution from the Illinois State Medical Society Political Action Committee.

He also received $1,000 from Foresight Energy Services on Sept. 11.

The last time there was a contested race in the Fifth District - 2006 - candidates spent close to $3 million.

In that election, McGlynn lost the expensive race to Democrat Bruce Stewart, a former Saline County circuit judge.

Stewart's support was strong in counties outside the Metro-East, in a district that includes the state's 37 southernmost counties.

Cates also has had a previous run for the appellate court.

In spite of outspending her opponent James Wexstten almost two to one, she lost a 2008 primary race by a margin of 53-47. Wexstten, of Mount Vernon, had received the endorsement of the St. Clair County Democratic organization.

Cates, a former president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, funded her primary campaign, in large part, with more than $800,000 in personal loans or contributions from her law firm.

Wexstten, who ran unopposed in the general election, raised approximately $500,000 in the primary.

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