A contest is on for the circuit court seat formerly held by a St. Clair County judge who pleaded guilty to heroin possession and weapons charges earlier this month.

And, it appears the issue of illegal drug use could be central to the 2014 election.

In a press release announcing his candidacy, Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf indicated he would submit to random drug testing.

“Judge Rudolf believes as a candidate for public office that he should submit to voluntary drug testing for the 2014 election,” his release states. “(Rudolf) has previously voluntarily submitted to drug testing on July 16, 2013, and October 25, 2013, testing negative both times.”

“As random drug tests are more reliable indicators, Judge Rudolf has voluntarily joined with other St. Clair County elected officials in participating in St. Clair County’s periodic screening of public employees.”

By law, public office holders are not required to undergo drug testing, but may do so voluntarily.

Rudolf will seek the seat on the Democratic ticket.

His announced opponent is Judge Stephen McGlynn, who was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court following Michael Cook’s arrest and resignation in May.

Cook pleaded guilty in federal court on Nov. 8.

McGlynn, a Republican, has said that he favors drug testing for judges. He also has said that he has taken and passed a drug test.

He said he would be submitting his nomination papers on Tuesday.

McGlynn has served by appointment at the Fifth District Appellate Court and twice at the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. He lost election to the appellate court last year to Judy Cates.

Rudolf has served as an associate judge for nearly eight years. Prior to taking the bench, Rudolf practiced law for five years with Becker, Paulson, Hoerner & Thompson in Belleville,

His practice concentrated on governmental and general civil litigation, according to the release.

Rudolf has served as an assistant state’s attorney and an assistant public defender. He also served on the St. Clair County Boar from 2002-2006.

He is a life-long resident of Belleville where he resides with his wife and two daughters. He is a member of Blessed Sacrament Church and serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Children First Foundation.

Rudolf holds a juris doctorate, master’s, and Ph.D. in public policy analysis and administration from St. Louis University.

He was appointed in 2012 by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Education.

Rudolf teaches criminal law and criminal procedure as an adjunct professor at Lindenwood University in Belleville.

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