With two appellate court seats up for grabs next year at the Fifth District Appellate Court, so far just two candidates outside the Metro-East have announced their intentions to run.
Second Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jo Beth Weber, resident judge in Jefferson County, will be running on the Democratic ticket for the seat that James Wexstten vacated in January 2014.
Weber, accompanied by former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Philip Rarick, made her announcement in Belleville last Friday.
She said she decided to run for the appellate court seat to ensure that all citizens of the Fifth District - which includes the state's 37 southern-most counties - are treated "fairly and impartially" and that their cases be handled in an expeditious manner.
"A judge must always be mindful that the people we serve are anxious to have cases resolved, and the decisions we make as judges have a permanent impact on the people we serve," she said.
Weber, of Mount Vernon, was elected circuit judge in 2012 and her current term expires in December of 2018.
Rarick, who resides in Troy, retired from the high court in 2004. He will serve as Weber's campaign chair. He said he was endorsing her "without hesitation."
In March 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed S. Gene Schwarm of the Fourth Judicial Circuit to serve for the remainder of Wexstten's term which expires in December 2016.
Another announcement for the Fifth District came last Friday in Marion.
First Judicial Circuit judge Brad Bleyer of Carbondale said that he will seek the seat being vacated by Justice Bruce Stewart.
Bleyer also is running on the Democratic ticket.
His campaign is being chaired by retired federal judge G. Patrick Murphy of Carbondale.
Bleyer was first appointed to his circuit seat in 2004. He was retained in 2012 to a six year term that expires in 2018.
Bleyer received his undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Illinois University.
Schwarm, a Republican from rural Fayette County, said he will not be seeking the seat he currently occupies. He said he would be retiring following a 22-year judicial career when his term expires in December 2016.
Stephen McGlynn, a Republican elected as circuit judge in St. Clair County last year, has run unsuccessfully for the Fifth District in 2008 against Bruce Stewart and in 2012 against Judy Cates.
McGlynn said "a lot of people" are wanting him to run for one of the two seats being vacated on the Fifth District. He said he was "happy" in his current position. He said he had not yet made a decision whether to run.